The Atlantic: Work Martyrdom Isn’t Getting Workers Anywhere

In an effort to get ahead, American employees are chosing long hours and piles of work over productivity and health. A toxic combination of silence and guilt in the workplace has created the work martyr. The Atlantic describes how the dangerous culture came to be and the inevitable path to burnout:

It seems we have forgotten the very American concept of work hard, play hard. While 97 percent of companies offer paid time off, a majority of Americans are not tapping the full potential of this benefit. Vacation usage has sunk to one of its lowest points in 40 years. Americans are now using four days less than they were in 2000, a sharp drop driven by new work culture norms that bucked a decades-long stable trend line.

For this damning statistic, thank work martyrdom—a powerful and contagious perception spread through a pervasive culture of pressure, silence, and guilt. In work environments where face time is prized over productivity, this martyrdom has gone largely unchecked, left to thrive at the expense of employees.