In the article, Time's Lev Grossman describes Cook as a “workaholic, and not of the recovering kind” (p. 114). But Cook describes it differently. “The thing about it is, when you love what you do, you don’t really think of it as work. It’s what you do.” You do not have to be a CEO to have that attitude but my guess is that many CEOs and senior VPs share that perspective. They eat, live, and breathe their jobs.
In my opinion Ann Howard and Douglas Bray’s Managerial Lives in Transition is the definitive study on who gets ahead in organizations, who reaches the top. They conducted their longitudinal studies over several decades at AT&T. Analyses of life themes figured prominently in the results (For more on life themes, see Rychlak, 1982). Not surprisingly, those managers with the highest scores on the occupational life theme (“eating, living, breathing the job”), both men and women, advanced fast and far. In the first several years after being hired the differences among managers were small but around the fourth year, occupational life theme scores started to move apart. By year seven, the occupational life theme corresponded to the highest managerial level eventually to be attained. Those with the highest scores were headed to the higher levels, AT&T Levels 5-6, whereas those with the lowest scores were destined to stay at Level 1. In most organizations, those who “eat, live, and breathe their jobs” are more likely to rise to the top.
Of course, not everyone wants to rise to the top, be available 24/7, "to eat, live, and breathe the job." But I think Cook nails it about person-job match. If you love what you do, it really doesn't seem like work -- most of the time.
Howard, A., & Bray, D. W. (1988). Managerial lives in transition: Advancing age and changing times. New York: Guilford Press.
Rychlak, J. F. (1982). Personality and life-style of young male managers: A logical learning theory analysis. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
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