Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holidays & Overwork

I recently had a piece in the Canberra Times, 'Time to put down the pen and join the human race'.

Just a brief reminder to treat the holidays as holidays, particularly for managers, leaders, executives.  And a few suggestions on how to steer clear of burnout.  A sample:
Christmas is a season of profound religious reflection and joy. But the holidays also offer a secular gift, something rare and precious: a few days off. And for many workers, this is one thing they're denied - or they deny themselves.
According to research by business psychologist Dr. Travis Kemp, business and government leaders have double the average occurrence of anxiety and depression. They also show more signs of narcissism, like self-centredness and lack of empathy.
Kemp believes more study is needed to trace causes, but it’s not difficult to speculate: high levels of responsibility, combined with unrealistic deadlines, limited resourced and power, and the intrusion of these concerns into home life. And in a turbulent, tense economy, this is heightened – the stakes higher, risk greater, pressure more unrelenting. No doubt mortgage stress can add to this.
The result is executives risking mental illness for the bottom line. This overwhelms ordinary workers, who labour within the rules and culture upheld by overworked narcissists.

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