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Some Professionals Don't Mind Working Long Hours in Jobs They Love

Allen_2With all the talk of work life balance, there are still some highly compensated professionals - lawyers among them - who don't mind working extraordinarily long hours in jobs they love. This phenomenon of "extreme" jobs was the subject of a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor brought to our attention by Stephanie West Allen who publishes the idealawg.

Among those profiled in the article was Cynthia McKay, a former lawyer who founded LeGourmet Gift Basket as a home-based gift basket business opportunity. McKay maintains a grueling schedule: eleven hours a day, seven days a week, she is in her office in Castle Rock, Colorado, and remains on 24-hour call for clients around the world. Yet she says her long hours are "absolutely my choice." "I love being at work. It becomes a lifestyle as opposed to a job." McKay also has a spouse, Paul Gomez (assistant attorney general of Colorado), whom she calls a "saint who tolerates the schedule well;" they talk often during the day and spend time together in the evening.

The article also references a report by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president of the Center for Work-Life Policy in New York, just published in the Harvard Business Review entitled: Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek (order a copy here). Hewlett's report cites data showing "just how much these extreme professionals love their work."  Yet Hewlett also notes that professionals in "extreme" jobs can harm their health (poor eating habits, lack of sleep, etc.), and their personal relationships (the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says that preoccupation with work is one of the top four causes for divorce).

Read the full Christian Science Monitor article. Then read Allen's critique - among other things, she argues that professionals with "extreme" jobs should not be lambasted for making choices and setting priorities based on what's important to them in life -- a challenging, stimulating job that demands intense focus and dedication.

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