Work hard, play hard, right? We'll sleep when we're dead? Rise and grind? You've probably seen these irritating go-getter statements framed as encouragement to hustle more. Tesla founder and Iron Man 2 featured extra Elon Musk takes this attitude into the stratosphere.
This week, Musk confirmed on Twitter that his typical work week can hit 90 to 100 hours on the job. At the very least, he's self-aware enough at 47 not to recommend it ("bad for health & happiness," he tweeted). The self-awareness doesn't last long, though: Immediately after, he adds, "But no choice or Tesla would die. Hope to reduce to 80 hours next year."
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This is peak late capitalism, as the kids say, and there's nothing healthy about it, either as a model for a business or your own conduct as a worker. For starters, no CEO should structure an enterprise so that it will utterly collapse without their own micromanagement. One of a leader's biggest responsibilities is understanding how and when to delegate. If your own boss displays or demands that kind of time commitment on a regular basis, it's a sure sign of a toxic workplace, which means you ought to get out.
Work-life balance means being able to create healthy boundaries for yourself and for your professional life. This means getting enough sleep; seeking out personal enrichment through hobbies, experiences, and relationships; and focusing on the quality of your work, rather than sheer quantity. There may be an ethos out there of driving yourself into the ground for profit, but you don't have to buy into it to thrive.