How much should you care about your job?

 Job burnout has become a pervasive issue for mid-career women, who experienced the negative impact of remote work dynamics and pandemic-related stress on their mental and physical well-being. Many of them quit their jobs, while others learned to care less about their work and resorted to "quiet quitting". However, as job insecurity rises across different industries, some workers are now doubling down on their careers. 

Finding the right balance between caring too much and not caring enough about one's job is crucial for achieving health and happiness. Striking this balance may be trickier now due to the mixed bag of returning to the office. Though office work can help enforce boundaries, increase collegial interaction, and reduce loneliness, it may also put pressure on workers to prioritize their jobs over their personal life. As such, finding the middle ground is still a personal investment tightrope walk.

As people continue to adjust to the changes brought about by the pandemic, many have rediscovered the benefits of working in an office, such as easier boundary-setting with employers and increased social connections. However, this also raises concerns about the normalization of a work-first mindset and the potential for burnout. 

Psychologist Janna Koretz notes that while being invested in one's job is not necessarily problematic, it becomes a problem when it starts to take over a person's identity and their non-work priorities. This can lead to burnout and a sense of loss when milestones are achieved at the expense of personal fulfillment. Gender disparities in job investment and burnout rates may also be attributed to societal pressure for women to prove themselves while trying to balance work and family. Ultimately, organizations must prioritize workers' well-being and autonomy over their work to promote healthy work-life balance. 

While societal norms make it difficult for individuals to resist the work-first mentality, unions and small changes in prioritizing non-work activities can shift the balance towards a more fulfilling life outside of work.

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