‘Work Harder Than Everyone Else’ Is Terrible Advice
Three healthier, saner alternatives to Michael Bloomberg’s strategy for career success
Here’s my recipe for success: Each morning, I get up before the sun, pull on my work diaper, and sit down at my desk, where I will remain planted for the next 18 to 20 hours. If I get hungry, I bend over and gnaw at the legs of my chair (though I try not to do it too much — hunger is weakness, and the wood shards are very uncomfortable to digest). At the end of the day, I rise, soiled and dizzy, and stagger away, congratulating myself on another job well done.
Just kidding. I’ve never eaten any of my furniture. If the above scenario sounds like a quick ticket to burnout, social isolation, and general misery, well, that’s because it is. But it’s also the strategy espoused by the CEO, former mayor, and current presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg in a recent viral interview clip. “My key to success,” he says, “[is] make sure you’re the first one in there and the last one to leave. Don’t ever take a lunch break or go to the bathroom. You keep working. You never know when that opportunity’s going to come along.”
Bloomberg’s approach has already been called plenty of things on Twitter: A symptom of a broken system that glorifies work above all else. A fairy-tale vision of the world in which hard work necessarily begets success. “Nightmarish.”
We’re not here to disagree with any of those descriptors. Here at Forge, we’re firm believers that it’s perfectly fine — in fact, it’s vital — to let yourself be a human being at work. You’re not an automaton. Your physical and emotional needs don’t vanish when you log on for the day.
And you do not need to treat your job as a marathon of endurance. You’ll be happier, healthier, and, yes, more productive if you take care of yourself and respect your own limits. Here are three more sustainable paths to success than the slave-to-your-desk mentality.