Men who reported working fewer hours than their cohorts were found to be less happy than those who reported working more.
To the list of male status symbols that may include the most luxurious home, the sportiest car or the trophiest wife, a Danish research team adds another: “Conspicuous work.”
Yes; turns out it’s not enough for men to lord over their peers their executive title or salary. They also want bragging rights for how many hours they work. The report, “Conspicuous Work: Peer Working Time, Labour Supply and Happiness for Male Workers,” finds that among the surveyed 3,042 Dutch male workers, status was derived from working more than his peers, In addition, men who reported working fewer hours than their cohorts were found to be less happy than those who reported working more.
“In many social groups, an individual can indeed increase his status by telling everyone that he is very busy, preferably even more than others around him,” the report states. “Symmetrically, he can lose status if he has less to do than others.”
Workers identified as managers report working longer hours than ever according to a recent Harris Poll study. Almost half of surveyed managers reported working more than 40 hours per week. Four-in-ten said their hours have increased over the past five years.
If the Danish report has any validity, then Chinese workers who are male must be unhappier than their global counterparts. While nearly 60 percent of managers in the United States report being on the job for more than 40 hours, only 19 percent of managers in China work that long.
(Interestingly, in a time when work-life balance and hour flexibility have become workplace buzzwords, managers who are also parents were more likely to report longer hours in the last five years than non-parents, 41 percent to 37 percent).
Why do men seem to crave bragging rights over their long workday? “Men might be more satisfied with longer-working hours because the social norm is to work full-time,” the Dutch report states. “Working full-time is positively associated with the life satisfaction of men.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.