Love of work, anyway, according to the findings of two Illinois researchers that examined why some managers spend more than 60 hours in the office each week.
Drs. Jeanne M. Brett and Linda K. Stroh explored several hypotheses, including the notion that people who work the longest hours are the most stressed and dissatisfied with their home lives or that they are the most satisfied and psychologically involved with their jobs, according to Reuters Health.
The research from Brett, of Northwestern University in Chicago, and Stroh, of Loyola University Chicago, found that among male and female managers, those who worked at least 61 hours per week reported the least family stress. In fact, women who worked such long hours were more satisfied with their family lives than those who worked shorter hours, according to the report published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Yet, the long hours did have a “downside,” Brett told Reuters Health. Men and women who worked extra long hours said they felt more alienated from their families, and miss out on “family life,” the researcher explained.
There was a mitigating financial upside. Men who worked 61 hours or more each week received nearly $43,000 more per year than their peers. Additionally, they reported the most psychological involvement and satisfaction with their jobs, proving that “work is its own reward,” the report indicates.
Women who worked such long hours also fared better financially, receiving about $17,400 more per year than those who worked shorter hours. However, those extra hours did not seem to provide any additional emotional “lift” or harm. And while the number of women in the study who put in those hours was relatively small, those who did appear to be making a trade-off in spending less time participating in leisure time activity, suggesting that some female managers may be making a “trade-off between earning money and leisure,” according to the report.
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that 40 percent of male and about 20 percent of female managers in the US work at least 49 hours per week–and have been doing so since the late 1980s.
The 471 men included in the study were all business school graduates, married or living with a partner–who was usually unemployed–and had children living at home. Nearly 90% of the 86 women studied were married or living with a partner, most of whom worked full-time, and 36% had children living at home.
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