Over at Medium, Melody Wilding has a piece on the United States of Workaholics, which is worth a read.
A few notable things: turns out statistics show the trope about millennials being being lazy/not working is bullshit, which I find entirely unsurprising for a variety of reasons. Also, we’re doing this to ourselves, fostering a culture where taking time off is frowned upon (though rarely explicitly), and things like unlimited-time-off policies end up causing people to take less time off than they would otherwise. We already have less time off than many developed countries, and then we culturally place pressure to not even use what we have. (This came up again in a recent Verge article about toxic management practices in the game industry, also worth a read.)
One fascinating study found that many top performers fake long hours to meet expectations. They simulated work martyrdom to preserve their reputation as a model employee. Those who chose honesty and instead formally requested lighter workloads were denied or punished for it, according to the study.
But how do we deal with it? How do we overcome decades of systemic cultural mentality that one must always be busy, and that more hours means more productivity? (Not even getting into the notion that we must always be producing more, which is itself problematic.) I don’t blame the folks who faked how long they worked, but I don’t think lying about it is a real solution.