Friday, January 05, 2007

Why Do Men Spend So Much Time at Their Jobs?

I just read an interesting article on Yahoo (that came from Men's Health)--a magazine that I have subscribed to in the past.

It was a very interesting and I think accurate article about why men can have faults in their relationships that they do not exhibit in business.

I'm actually going to paste the article below instead of including a link to the post. Please let me know what you think.

Why Do Men Spend So Much Time at Their Jobs?
By David Zinczenko

The question comes up over and over again in relationships. She says to him: If you gave me the same amount of attention as you give your boss, we'd be topside on the Love Boat rather than ballast in the Titanic.

Kinda true, right? At work, men can't communicate enough with e-mails, memos, brainstorming meetings that last all morning, and drinks that intrude on the dinner hour. But in a relationship, we hardly mutter an "uh, huh" when women ask if the dress looks okay. At work, men come up with creative solutions to problems. In a relationship, we hold our ground in the never-ending arguments about the budget/remote/toilet seat. At work, we're never satisfied with an average performance. In a relationship, we sometimes are. And then we fall asleep.

So, of course, it's a natural question for a woman to ask: Why is it that men obsess about work so much and spend so much time there-even without seemingly direct rewards or benefits for doing so? Part of the reason is that we value job performance and career advancement almost as much we value SportsCenter (almost). In fact, 35 percent of men in my Men, Love & Sex survey say that a 50-percent raise would be the one-time life boost that would make them feel the best-beating out both losing 20 pounds (29 percent) and working less to spend more time with the family (11 percent). Ouch.

The quick and obvious explanation is that men can take their relationships for granted after they've been in it for a while. In fact, that very sense of security is what we treasure most about a long-term relationship, in part because we can't afford to view our jobs the same way. These are some of the main reasons why men seem to have such great relationships-with their boss and coworkers.

They're Always Out to Prove They Are THE Guy

Early on in a relationship, a guy is competing for a woman's attention against all kinds of potential suitors. So he's at his best-witty, romantic, generous, unselfish. Once he knows he's the guy in the relationship, the pressure to perform decreases. At work, that drive is the same: He's competing against lots of other people for jobs, for raises, for respect-and a man's competitive nature drives him to want to be the best out of all the others. The difference in a job setting is that the pressure to perform never decreases, and he's always competing to be the guy. Even when he's the big boss, he's competing against other big bosses for his company's share of the pie (that is, the whole damn thing).

Not Working Equals Weakness

Of course, women have a lot of unfair stereotypes that they're fighting against day after day. But one of the stereotypes that men are saddled with is that their career success is a measure of their personal worth. The sociologist Warren Farrell has written that just as women are at times looked at as "sex objects," men are at risk of being considered "success objects"--to others, to themselves. Not working, or working in the same job, or never mustering the drive to move up makes us feel like going-nowhere dolts. Some of a man's drive to succeed comes from the desire to make more and more money, but some of that drive also comes from the desire to earn more and more respect.

They're Always Playing to an Audience

The difference between work and home life is like the difference between a filled-to-capacity stadium and an empty practice field. Men tend to feel the performance-anxiety pressure to succeed, to not make mistakes, and to excel when a whole company's watching. Right or wrong (OK, undoubtedly wrong), the natural tendency is to not give as much effort as we should when the only third-party eyes that are watching are the dog's.

Think I've nailed it on the head? Or is there something else that's driving men to spend those long hours at the office? I want to know what you think.

Yahoo has some pretty interesting comments posted on this article. You can find them at Link to Article and Commentary

1 comment:

Excalibur said...

I will be the first person to comment on this article. I've already said that I completely agree with the article's findings.

I wonder if there is an implied solution for the spouse/girlfriend to always make their mate feel as though there is a challenge at home, the same way there is a challenge at work.

Or perhaps it reveals our fatal flaw of being severely handicapped when compared with the opposite sex with the ability to multitask effectively. One suffers while the other flourishes.