Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, recently posted a lengthy rant in support of China’s culture of extreme overtime work.
Ma and other billionaires celebrate 70-130 hour workweeks. Ma endorses a work schedule from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week or “996” as he calls it.
Or utterly stupid, counterproductive and downright abusive as I call it. I should know, I worked those hours for 12 years when I was a college coach.
Looking back it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
You know what it did?
It damaged my health, sanity and friendships/relationships. I often slept in my office, had ZERO hobbies and am lucky it didn’t drive me to an early grave.
I had no work-life balance. And for those of you who think “there’s no such thing as work-life balance” you’re flat out wrong. And thinking that is about as foolish as believing you can red-line your car’s engine as long as you want with no harmful effects.
You know what it DIDN’T do?
It didn’t make me or my team more productive. It simply gives the illusion of achievement.
Overworking isn’t just happening in China at Alibaba Inc. Physically unhealthy overwork cultures exist right here in the U.S. where we wear busyness like a badge of honor…
Google exec Marissa Mayer boasts about 130 hour weeks, and Elon Musk, who works 120 hour weeks, famously claimed that “nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”
You’d think Mayer and Musk would’ve learned a little concept called the law of diminishing returns.
Which simply refers to a point at which the level of productivity gained is less than the amount of energy invested.
Where exactly is that point?
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, worker output begins to drop once workers clock more than 48 hours per week.
And the CDC reports that workers who are consistently putting in overtime are more susceptible to illness, alcohol use, smoking, and death. The Japanese have a term for this called karoshi which means “death by overwork.”
The bottom line: More isn’t better it’s just more. Work smarter not harder.
There are powerful lessons on perspective, balance and the ability to win at the same time in this powerful little book. And it’s all in a fun, easy to consume story format.
If you haven’t read it, you owe it to yourself to get a copy.
And if you know a workaholic, you owe it to them to give them a copy.
Order today and I’ll even throw in a copy of my DVD The Shift, which is about work-life balance (a $9.97 value) for FREE…