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Wednesday, May 25, 2011



Today’s overachieving professionals work longer, take on more responsibility, and earn more than the workaholics of yore. They hold what Hewlett and Luce call “extreme jobs,” which entail workweeks of 60 or more hours and have characteristics—such as unpredictable flow of work, fast paced work under tight deadlines, availability to clients 24/7, responsibility for mentoring and recruiting, physical presence at workplace at least 10 hours a day, tight deadlines and lots of travel, etc. Based on the research with companies including American Express, BP, and UBS, etc. Authors Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce report on high earners in US and multinational companies operating in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The findings are interesting from many different aspects. The data reveals that 62% of the high earning individuals work more than 50 hours a week, 35% work more than 60 hours a week and 10% work more than 80 hours a week. Out of all the people surveyed who are in extreme jobs, 42% take ten or fewer vacation days per year which is far less time off than they are entitled to and 55% claim they had to cancel vacation plans regularly.
Points of agreement
As mentioned in the article all the people in the extreme jobs say that there is no pressure on them to work longer hours and they do so on a voluntary basis. They work in these extreme jobs because they are stimulating, the people they work with are of high-quality, the jobs they do pay high compensation, and they receive recognition or because it confers power. I agree with this point.
Points of Disagreements
It is true that article is worth reading and really describes the true picture of the hundreds of employees all over the world but what is questionable is that why one want to work more than70 hours a week by his/her own will? There should be some other reason that compels them to work that lengthy and monotonous shift. Everyone wants to spend time with their family and friend and all want to stay relax without having any pressure. But people are ready to work for 70 to 80 hours a week because of the situation they are in. therefore, from this standpoint, article is unable to identify the cause of the facts and it just identifies the symptoms of the issue.  
Application of information to worldly views
This article describes the ground reality of the thousands of employees all over the world.  Everyone knows that simply working hard isn't enough anymore in today’s world economy and work environment. To get ahead, a 70-hour work week is the new standard. And whatever little spare time is left is often divided up among relationships with spouse, kids and sleep. Due to the globalization, competition and the technology, today job is becoming extreme day by day. Today thousands of employees around the world have to work in multiple time zones which sometime compel them to be an extreme job holder.
Integration of information with material or concepts from the text
This article is related with our text book in many ways. Actually, it is the challenge to the leader to manage the job satisfaction of the extreme job holders in the organization by providing whatever (reward, bonus either intrinsic or extrinsic) feasible and affordable for the company. Almost all extreme job holders say that they don’t want to continue their job for long. Therefore, this is the responsibility of the leader to retain them. By retaining the extreme job holder, the leader not only saves the turnover cost but also contributes in maintaining product and service quality at peak. In one hand our text book deals with the leader’s behavior, influence, power politics, networking, leader follower relation, strategic leadership and change management. On the other hand the central idea of an article Extreme Job is one of the changes in the organization seating and it’s a challenge to the leader in the organization. Therefore, we can say that our text book is helpful to solve such conflicting issues within the organization.
Points of interest
The interesting counter argument in this article is how to balance the work life and family life. All those, who are working more than 55 to 60 hours a week have problem in maintaining home, managing relationship with their spouse and children and even there is high probability that they lack satisfying sex life, Therefore, while reading this article one can ask question like are wealth, achievement, and social network everything in one’s life? Many research shows that employees with long working hours also had shorter sleeping hours, reported more symptoms of depression and used more alcohol than those with normal working hours. Not only this but also, consistently working long hours is bad for general health of the employee, and it is also bad for mental functioning of the long hours workers. Therefore, the goal is not to earn huge wealth but the balance of everything like work, family, and relationship with spouse and children etc. and for these we have to work being smart but not 80 hours a week.
New question sparked
While reading the article one can ask question like, is wealth and job recognition everything for the people who do extreme job? What about the family tie and affection with children and spouse? What about their personal time for recreation, and entertainment? Are they (extreme job holders or employees) really like such 70 hours a week job or there is something else that forces them to work that long? If one works for more than 70 hours a week, are they still productive, dedicated and motivated to the job they are doing?
In the article, Hewlett and Luce consider their data in relation to increasing competitive pressures, vastly improved communication technology, cultural shifts, and other sweeping changes that have made high-stakes employment more prominent and it is true too. But one should think from wider perspective before working 70 hours a week or more. Just attending work or be on the job is not important. What is important is efficiency and productivity. Therefore, both employee and employer should be aware about what should be the optimum number of hour that leads to the maximum output and satisfied employee employer relation.

Hewlett Ann, Sylvia. Luce Buck, Carolyn. “ Extreme Jobs”. Harvard Business Review
Lussier N. Roberts,.Achua, F. Christhopher (2009). “Leadership’ 4th  Edition

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