Let me start off by saying that working thoroughly and diligently are precursors of success. One of the pillars your reputation is built on is the inherent quality of the work you produce.

Anatomy of the Modern Day Business WorkhorseHowever, the modern day business workhorse is a mutated, self-destructive species, with a painful lifespan and a low return on their personal investment. The following four characteristics are all too common to this species.

  • Increased irritability – The modern day business workhorse is more reactive than responsive. One reason for this is the constant juggling of workload expectations. There are underlying intrinsic and extrinsic pressures to produce results at a high-level. This results in frayed nerves and hyper-irritability that is worsened by a caffeine intake.
  • Poor social interactions – The modern day business workhorse can be more anti-social than others. Often times this is a mindset that others are mostly a distraction and an impediment in getting their work done (which can be true). Additionally, the workhorse often times needs moments alone with the racing “to-do” thoughts that are screaming in their mind. These conversations in their mind leave them little desire or energy for interactions with others.
  • Physical Neglect – The modern day business workhorse is not the standard of health. Increased anxiety, irregular unbalanced meals, poor sleep hygiene, reduction in physical activity including the gym, weight loss or cortisol based weight gain, less attention paid to personal appearance, feelings of despair and burnout are a few of the physical and mental manifestations that the species endures.
  • Personal Life interference– The modern day business workhorse negatively impacts their personal lives. There is no way to completely separate the person you are at work and the person you are at home. The two worlds overlap. It’s common for the species to be irritable, lack mental/physical energy and not want to engage in extracurricular activities in their personal life with family and friends. They often times work for free after business hours in the office or work during their personal time out of the office. Many of the effects are subconscious. The workhorse may not even realize how they are behaving. This is a buildup of the deep-rooted stresses of being a workhorse.

In summary, the modern day business workhorse is a mythical creature created by the increased social pressure in metrics based workplaces to “perform”. The perception is that the workhorse is the ideal candidate for promotions, to head projects, to come up with winning ideas etc., because of their ability to produce quantifiable results over the short or long term.

The hard truth is that the inviable side-effects that the modern day business workhorse will fall victim to, will only weaken the individual in multiple areas of personal development and put them out to workplace pasture sooner.