The rise and fall of professionally unreasonable jobs
A job that offers a certain level of stretch and challenge is considered “developmental” in nature. In fact, many leave jobs that have lost their developmental glow.
But what I am concerned about today is the other extreme. Jobs that offer so much challenge that they appear to be “professionally unreasonable”. At one time, “extreme jobs” or “adrenaline pumping” jobs were celebrated because they pushed executives to test their endurance and the limits of human possibilities.
Unfortunately, many who signed up for these jobs did not read the fine print. The unintended consequences and the collateral damage. Mostly their physical and mental health.
So, when would you call a job, “professionally unreasonable”?
Here is my tentative list:
- when the demands placed on the person far outstrip the resources at his or her disposal. This could be people, infrastructure, know-how, support.
- when the growth aspirations committed by stakeholders on a sustained basis are alluring but certainly unreasonable and fatigue causing.
- when you are by design doing the job of two people or handling two or more portfolios – unwittingly taken on as a part of your growth plans
when there are sustained time pressures where for ever you are running and have lost all sense of boundaries and yet feel unfinished at the end of the day
- all of these have in some ways become a permanent feature of your work life with no end in sight
It is my sense that when the pandemic brought the entire humanity face to face with mortality, one of the things that people started asking themselves was questions of an existential nature. What is
important for me? What price have I been paying? What are the burdens that I can do without?
Dealing with “Professionally unreasonable jobs” is certainly high on the list for many.
Organizations may want to urgently ask themselves if they are promoting a culture where such jobs thrive? If they do, it certainly
shows that the organization does not care, is unempathetic and has a purely commercial relationship with its employees.
In today’s times of “talent uprising” as they are calling it, how many will sign up for such jobs or keep them, I wonder.
Certainly not the younger generation of employees who are confident, bold and multi-faceted.
Of course, employees in such jobs will also need to re-evaluate what they have signed up for in return for their pay and benefits. They will need to ask themselves how they wish to balance success with happiness and well-being.
It is my hope that the post-pandemic days will signal the waning popularity of “professionally unreasonable jobs”.
What do you think?