- Elon Musk reportedly works for 120 hours a week.
- That's three times the average work week in the US private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Overwork is an incredibly dangerous habit.
Elon Musk told The New York Times that he has taken to working 120 hours a week.
That's well over three times the national average private sector work week of 34.5 hours, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn't go outside," the Tesla and SpaceX CEO told The Times. "This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends."
Silicon Valley has come under fire for reportedly glorifying overwork, but, judging from his interview, Musk has come to realize the toll it's taken on his life. He revealed that he even spent his most recent birthday at work and that hasn't taken a substantial vacation since 2001. He has trouble sleeping: "It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien," he told The Times.
As the CEO of two major companies, Musk is known to keep an intense daily routine. Inc. previously reported that the CEO ignores most phone calls, abstains from getting stuck dealing with emails, and breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots. But apparently, he's still there for 120 hours a week.
It sounds a lot like he's overworked.
There are serious dangers that come with overwork: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked long working hours with everything from cardiovascular disease to suicide to cancer.
The tendency to work too much isn't limited to Americans. Death by overwork is a major problem in Japan, where it's known as karoshi. In 2017, a 31-year-old Japanese woman died of congestive heart failure after pulling 150 hours of overtime work, Time reported. The epidemic has even prompted the Japanese government to take steps to protect its citizens from overwork.
Working too much isn't just an inconvenience to your family or a guilt-trip to your colleagues — it's dangerous.