Our Take: In her blog post today, Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, cites a number of studies that confirm the emotional and physical dangers of overly demanding careers. Huffington says families can help workaholics put life back into perspective and ease the stress.
If you haven't read Anne-Marie Slaughter's cover story in the July/August issue of The Atlantic, titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," you've probably seen part of the discussion it sparked. With her argument that "among those who have made it to the top, a balanced life still is more elusive for women than it is for men," Anne-Marie — a Princeton professor who was formerly the first woman to serve as the State Department's director of policy planning — has renewed the debate by "bringing fresh twists to bear on longstanding concerns about status, opportunity and family," as the New York Times put it.
Of the points she makes, the one with which I most wholeheartedly agree is that we desperately need to purge our lives of one particular poison:
The culture of "time macho" — a relentless competition to work harder, stay later, pull more all-nighters, travel around the world and bill the extra hours that the international date line affords you -- remains astonishingly prevalent among professionals today.
There are some points where Anne-Marie and I disagree — and last month we had the opportunity to debate the issue in person — but I was grateful that her article put the spotlight on an issue with deep implications not only for women, but for everyone: that by sacrificing our families — and by extension, ourselves — on the altar of our careers, we are in danger of cutting ourselves off from our own wisdom and perspective — the very qualities that are so lacking in our macho work culture. And that by doing so, we play into a self-perpetuating destructive system that will require the same of others down the line.
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