It may sound counterintuitive, but a report has found that people who spend the most time in the office are the least likely to have gotten a raise or bonus in the last three years.
According to the report from Project: Time Off, not only are Americans not using all their vacation time by slaving away in the office (the report calls them “office martyrs”), but their actions could have far longer-ranging consequences: their stress levels are higher, they’re less satisfied with their jobs, they’re unhappy with their professional success and they’re unhappy with the companies they work for.
But that’s not all. They make less money. And that can translate to a poorer retirement.
A recent Gallup poll says the average full-time employee in the U.S. puts in a 47-hour week; that’s almost a whole day over and above the standard nine-to-five schedule.
Not only that, 18 percent of workers say they work 60 hours or more per week.
It could be worse; they could be working in Japan, where 80-hour work weeks are common and there’s actually a word to describe “overwork death”: karoshi.
And the BBC reports that companies in Japan have begun to limit overtime, and “ad agency Dentsu just released an eight-point plan (including regular vacation encouragement and lights out at the office by 22:00) to improve its work environment after the high-profile suicide of one of its employees.”
Suicide. Think about that for a minute. Not even making it to retirement. Not even living a normal lifespan. And not even getting paid for all that misery.
The Project: Time Off study says that, despite their sacrifices, “work martyrs are slightly less likely to have received a bonus in the last three years.”
While 75 percent of work martyrs say they’ve gotten a bonus in the last three years, which may sound good, 81 percent of the overall study respondent population got one—meaning that those martyrs are not being rewarded for all that sacrifice.
The report says, “The difference is clear evidence that work martyrs’ perceived commitment may not be valued—or as valuable—as they think.”
Who’s most in danger from this whole “work martyr” attitude? Millennials.
Nearly half (48 percent) of millennials, the study says, think it’s actually a good thing to be seen as a work martyr by their bosses. Just 39 percent of overall respondents agreed, as did the same percentage of GenXers (39 percent)—but boomers, being more practical, weren’t enamored of the notion, with just 32 percent of them buying into the whole martyr thing.
But here’s the deal. Millennials already make less money than older generations, and are loaded down with student debt—the study cites an analysis by Edvisors putting the average amount of student debt held by the class of 2016 at $37,173, and 70 percent of the most recent graduating class is carrying loans—also on the rise.
Millennials already don’t save much, if at all, for retirement. And if they’re clinging to jobs and hours in the office in the hope of bettering their financial situation, they’re losing.
Millennials also don’t take vacation time—another blunder.
In the BBC report, Katie Denis, lead researcher at Project: Time Off, is quoted saying, “We actually find that people who take more time off—11 days or more—are more likely to get a raise or bonus than people who take 10 or fewer days.”
Denis adds, “So if you’re not getting ahead—and we find no correlation between hours worked and getting ahead—then what are you doing it for?”