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Why extreme dedication to your career could hold you back

Working weekends and evenings? Extreme dedication to your career damages long-term success, according to new research.

Is work your number one priority? This could actually be detrimental to long-term success as productivity and motivation inevitably nose-dive.

People who feel their work is integral to their lives and identity may actually find it difficult to sustain productivity over long periods of time, new research from Kings Business School in the UK suggests.

According to Dr Michael Clinton, people who view their career as an intense calling are less able to successfully disengage from work in the evenings which limits their energy levels the following morning.

Even though these people dedicate more energy to their work than other areas of their lives, Clinton discovered that the law of diminishing marginal returns sets in. Having an intense career calling motivates people to work longer hours which directly limits their psychological detachment from work. This affects sleep quality and their ability to focus.

“A calling produces a set of superior goals that are given higher priority over other life goals. This focus on calling-related goals can be problematic when the additional goals, which may include both personal and family-related goals, are not given sufficient attention and when they are important for individual functioning,” says Clinton.

Clinton found that those who strongly believed their existence would be much less meaningful without their jobs are less likely to take breaks to recover, exposing them to work-related strain.

Individuals display workaholic tendencies in almost every sector, but this research suggests that intense career dedication could actually impede both professional and personal success in the long run.

“This study has shed light on how callings may often be challenging for an individual, demanding more of them than perhaps less meaningful and consuming endeavors,” Clinton adds. “People should be aware of how much value they place on their career and the subsequent effects of this on their life.”

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