Men are entrusted from infancy with the care of their honour, their property, their friends, and even with the property and honour of their friends. They are overwhelmed with business, with the study of languages, and with physical exercise; and they are made to understand that they cannot be happy unless their health, their honour, their fortune and that of their friends be in good condition, and that a single thing wanting will make them unhappy. Thus they are given cares and business which make them bustle about from the break of day.– It is, you will exclaim, a strange way to make them happy! What more could be done to make them miserable!– Indeed, what could be done? We should only have to relieve them from all these cares; for then they would see themselves: they would reflect on what they are, whence they came, whither they go, and thus we cannot employ and divert them too much. And this is why, after having given them so much business, we advise them, if they have some time for relaxation, to employ it in amusement, in play, and to be always fully occupied.
–Blaise Pascal, Pensées (1669)
Work hard, play hard is a corporate cultural philosophy that hard work and long hours should be balanced with intense leisure activities (including, for instance sports, parties, and outings). Its manifestations are commonly seen in sales/marketing departments and are often tied to performance targets. Many top consulting firms have adopted the philosophy and regularly advertise it as corporate policy to prospective employees.
Recently, critics of the “Work Hard, Play Hard” philosophy have asserted that the long hours and stressful environments that go come with the Work Hard aspect of the theory leads to burn-out and other emotional and physiological problems in employees.
How does one “play hard”? When play is also work.