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Can I Have Your Attention? by Jonathan McKee, Curt Steinhorst

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Chapter 17The Balance Myth

A friend of mine worked the constantly connected workplace to her advantage until it worked her into the ground. She was a rising star at a major consulting firm who, like many in her profession, put in countless hours and made herself available 24/7.

Her husband intervened after discovering she was setting her alarm for 1 and 3 AM to reply to e-mails, then getting up again at about 5 AM. She averaged three to four hours of sleep a night.

Her salary was ridiculous—but so was her life, if you could call it that. Eventually, not even a 50 percent raise could make her stay at the firm.

Now she coaches her kid's basketball team—and quite happily so.

Abetted by technology, we live in a culture that encourages us to speed past the semblance of a balanced life. Some jobs flat out demand this speed, and a great many of us like it.

Overworking becomes welded to our identity, part of “an age where talent, passion, and authenticity are hailed as virtues and antidotes to the uncertainty of the workplace.”1 Work becomes a kind of romance filled with the same turbulence. Even if we reject the romance for ourselves, we encourage our employees to fall in love. If you know anything about welding, you can see the problem. Welding literally fuses things together so they can't be undone without breaking or cutting the weld off. Once overworking is what others expect of you, and what you expect from yourself, it can be difficult to step back.

I sold my house earlier this ...

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