Apparently, working today doesn’t always just mean eating tomorrow. It might also mean working even harder tomorrow to eat the same the day after.
A new study from researchers at Duke University, University of Georgia and University of Colorado finds that competent, hardworking employees experience higher performance expectations, are often assigned more tasks and are often unhappier because of it, according to The Atlantic.
In one experiment, the researchers established that the performance expectations of “Sam,” a fictional employee, rose sharply when participants learned he had great self-control, or competence.
In another experiment, participants were presented with the task of assigning proofreading work to students with varying levels of self-control. Predictably, those students with more self-control were assigned more work.
Christy Zhou Koval, the lead author of the study, said:
“People ask high self-control people to do more for perfectly logical reasons—because they think that those who successfully demonstrate high (vs. low) self-control will perform better and accomplish more. So it is a reasonable thing to do, from the perspective of the partner, the manager, the coworker.
“But for the actor, it can feel like a burden. Why should you do more work for the same reward, while your less capable coworker coasts along with lower expectations and work?”
The moral of the story? Work hard and be competent, but don’t always make a show of it because you might end up doing much more in exchange for diminishing returns.