Case Scenario Before Beenish left her job at Standard Chartered Bank, she was spending 13 hours a…
Before Beenish left her job at Standard Chartered Bank, she was spending 13 hours a day working and commuting. She also had to be available via cell phone 24/7. The last straw came when she didn’t have time to wait with her school-age son at his bus stop for his pickup. Carol also has an extreme job. She usually works more than 80 hours a week for Ernst & Young and often has to travel to Afghanistan and Hong Kong. Beenish and Carol are not alone. Most young adults in Australia are working more hours than ever, but one group in particular stands out: those with extreme jobs—people who spend more than half their time working and commuting to and from work. More than 1.7 million people consider their jobs too extreme, according to a recent study. What accounts for the rise in extreme jobs? It’s not entirely clear, but the usual suspects of globalization, technology, and competitiveness are high on everyone’s lists. As extreme as Beenish and Carol’s jobs may seem, educated workers in Australia may have it comparatively easy. Most surveys indicate extreme jobs are worse in developing counties. A 2006 Harvard Business Review study of managers in 33 global companies indicated that compared to Australian managers, managers in developing countries were more than twice as likely to have extreme jobs. For those who hold extreme jobs, personal life often takes a back seat. Forty-four percent take fewer than 10 vacation days per year. Many individuals with extreme jobs see society changing into a “winner takes all” mode, where those who are willing to go the extra mile will reap a disproportionate share of the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Why do people take extreme jobs (or allow their jobs to become extreme)? A 2006 study suggested that for both men and women, the number-one reason for working long, stressful hours is not pay. Rather, it’s the rush they get from doing stimulating or challenging work. As one Asian manager said, “Building this business in markets where no one has done anything like this before is enormously exciting. And important. We’ve built distribution centers that are vital to China’s growth—they contribute to the overall prospects of our economy.” Although this sounds all good, the situation is more complicated when you ask holders of extreme jobs about what their jobs cost them. Among them, 66 percent of men and 77 percent of women say their job interferes with their ability to maintain a home. For those with extreme jobs who have children, 65 percent of men and 33 percent of womensay it keeps them from having a relationship with their children. And 46 percent of male and female extreme job holders say their jobs interfere with having a strong relationship with their spouse. Another, Kelvin Lim, was so concerned about being out of touch with work during his honeymoon that he got a satellite phone. Even that didn’t help. He ended up cutting his 10-day honeymoon to 5 days. “I had major anxiety,” he said. The problem of overwork has become so pronounced in South Korea that many employers are forcing employees to take time off and locking them out of their computer systems during scheduled vacation times. Managers complain that Korean workers have become comparatively unproductive during their work hours, in part because they are so exhausted they cannot perform effectively. One authority on Korean society opines that employees are worried that if they do not work extreme hours, their employers will see them as expendable.
Q.1: We all know extreme jobs has risen over the period of times, are you sure that you think of having an extreme job ever? Explain your reasoning with valid grounds in no more than 300 words. (7.5 marks)
Q.2: According to your view point, do you think organizations should encourage extreme jobs, discourage them, or completely leave them to an employee’s discretion? Write the answer in no more than 300 words. (7.5 marks)