If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week?


Laura Empson argues that professional services firms (looking at you, public accounting) deliberately recruit overachievers, then exploit their insecurity:

A professional’s insecurity is rooted in the inherent intangibility of knowledge work. How do you convince your client that you know something worthwhile and justify the high fees you charge? The insecurity caused by this intangibility is exacerbated by the rigorous “up or out” promotion system perpetuated by elite professional organizations... [who] deliberately set out to identify and recruit “insecure overachievers”... the professionals I studied still believe that they have autonomy and that they are overworking by choice.


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