Do you think only certain individuals are attracted to these types of jobs, or is it the characteristics of the jobs themselves that are satisfying
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Long hours, Hundreds of emails, and no sleep: does this sound like a satisfying job?
In the 1970s, futurists were predicting that increases in
technology would dramatically shorten the workweek for
most people. But in the wired work world of today, where
employees can reach “the office” from wherever they are,
many managers are finding it extremely difficult to get
away from their jobs. In fact, one employment firm estimated
that 30 percent of professionals take less than
their allotted vacation time, and 42 percent said they
have to cancel vacation plans regularly. Consider a few
● Gian Paolo Lombardo might work for a firm that manufactures
luggage for luxury travel, but he’s had precious
little time for vacationing himself. During his last
“faux-cation” 3 years ago, he spent most of the time in
his hotel room in the resort town of Carmel, California,
with his BlackBerry, while his wife Ellen chatted with
other guests, hoping he’d finally finish with work. Ellen
notes that no meal or movie goes by without her husband
being hunched over his smartphone. She says,
“I think he needs to go into rehab.” He agrees.
● Irene Tse heads the government bond-trading division
at Goldman Sachs. For 10 years, she has seen the
stock market go from all-time highs to recession levels.
Such fluctuations can mean millions of dollars in either
profits or losses. “There are days when you can make a
lot, and other days where you lose so much you’re just
stunned by what you’ve done,” says Tse. She says she
hasn’t slept through the night in years and often wakes
up several times to check the global market status. Her
average workweek? Eighty hours. “I’ve done this for
10 years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand
the number of days in my career when I didn’t want to
come to work. Every day I wake up and I can’t wait to
● Tony Kurz is a managing director at Capital Alliance
Partners, and he raises funds for real estate investments.
However, these are not your average properties.
Kurz often flies to exotic locations such as Costa
Rica and Hawaii to woo prospective clients. He travels
more than 300,000 miles per year, often sleeping on
planes and coping with jet lag. Kurz is not the only one
he knows with such a hectic work schedule. His girlfriend,
Avery Baker, logs around 400,000 miles a year
as the senior vice president of marketing for Tommy
Hilfiger. “It’s not easy to maintain a relationship like
this,” says Kurz. But do Kurz and Baker like their jobs?
● David Clark is the vice president of global marketing
for MTV. His job often consists of traveling around
the globe to promote the channel as well as to keep
up with the global music scene. If he is not traveling
(Clark typically logs 200,000 miles a year), a typical
day consists of waking at 6:30 a.m. and immediately
responding to numerous messages that have accumulated
over the course of the night. He then goes to
his office, where throughout the day he responds to
another 500 or so messages from clients around the
world. If he’s lucky, he gets to spend an hour a day
with his son, but then it’s back to work until he finally
goes to bed around midnight. Says Clark, “There are
plenty of people who would love to have this job.
They’re knocking on the door all the time. So that’s
Many individuals would balk at the prospect of a
60-hour or more workweek with constant traveling and
little time for anything else. Some individuals are exhilarated
by it. But the demands of such jobs are clearly not
for everyone. Many quit, with turnover levels at 55 percent
for consultants and 30 percent for investment bankers, according
to Vault.com . However, clearly such jobs, while
time-consuming and often stressful, can be satisfying to
1. Do you think only certain individuals are attracted to
these types of jobs, or is it the characteristics of the
jobs themselves that are satisfying?
2. What characteristics of these jobs might contribute to
increased levels of job satisfaction?
3. Given that the four individuals we just read about
tend to be satisfied with their jobs, how might this satisfaction
relate to their job performance, citizenship
behavior, and turnover?
4. Recall David Clark’s statement that “There are plenty
of people who would love to have this job. They’re
knocking on the door all the time.” How might
Clark’s perceptions that he has a job many others
desire contribute to his job satisfaction?