The Desire To Be Superhuman: Understanding The Superman Syndrome at Workplace


The Superman Syndrome

The picture above gives a classic representation of what our lives have become today as we strive to do more and more every day in our desire to become superior and more “super” than the rest. As we progress into the information age and technology becomes more widespread, people tend to be with their work for a major part of the day on weekdays and in some cases even on weekends. “For years, like legions of other professionals, Mr. Obama has been all but addicted to his BlackBerry. The device has rarely been far from his side and on most days, it was fastened to his belt to provide a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign“, says noted reporter Jeff Zeleny while writing for the New York Times (read here). This just goes to show the kind of pressure today’s high-ranking professionals have to face and the rise of a little known mindset called the “The Superman Syndrome“.

Superman Syndrome is a dangerous workplace success formula that forces men and women to leap tall buildings and outrun speeding bullets — at the expense of personal lives, families, children and even business productivity. This represents a major hypocrisy implicit in nearly every boardroom in a lot of countries: The belief that we should be accountable to work but not to our families

The Syndrome can exist in various forms, a person could work days and nights sacrificing his health and family commitments so that he can get the promotion that he desires or to get a better annual review on his performance so that he gets a better salary hike. Another form of the Superman Syndrome is one where a person tries to flash his wealth and take care of the needs of everyone around him.

The Learning Fountain carries an interesting read of the Superman Syndrome here. It ends with a thought-provoking line “Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.”

Probably it doesn’t pay to be Superman every-time.



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