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A Cry for Help

One ordinary day, one of my valued team members (we’ll call him Kent), walked into my office with a heavy heart and a simple yet powerful statement: “John, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be an accountant.” This moment marked the culmination of Kent’s ongoing struggle, and it compelled me to delve deeper into his story.

Kent’s journey to this breaking point was far from unique. His ordeal began at a previous firm where his commendable work ethic led to a relentless cycle of increased responsibilities. As colleagues departed, they handed over their workloads to Kent, and this pattern repeated not once, but three times.

He found himself carrying the workload of three individuals while receiving the same compensation as when he had started. This arduous load wasn’t confined to the tax season; it was a year-round struggle.

A Widespread Problem

Kent’s story reflects a broader issue within the accounting industry—68% of accountants leave their profession within their first five years. This isn’t merely changing jobs; it’s a significant shift away from the field they dedicated years to study.

Unfortunately, this problem isn’t unique to accounting; it echoes across various professions, including law, engineering, computer programmers and so many others, highlighting a systemic concern.

As I delved into this issue, I recognized that it extended beyond any single industry; it was a prevalent problem throughout the United States. The relentless pursuit of profit and shareholder returns often overshadowed the well-being of employees.

The average CEO worked 55 hours a week, while employees were clocking in at 47 hours, with over 40% of them exceeding the 50-hour threshold.

A Practical Solution

Determined to address this challenge, I embarked on a mission—not only to safeguard my business’s profitability but also to protect my team members from burnout. The cost of replacing team members extended beyond mere expenses; it also demanded significant time and effort. Thus, I sought a balance between productivity and well-being, and from this, the 3.3 rule emerged.

The 3.3 Rule: The New Workday Standard

The 3.3 rule, while straightforward, is highly effective. It recommends working in a maximum of three-hour intervals followed by a 30% recovery period. This rule isn’t arbitrary; it’s grounded in scientific research, a practical solution to combat burnout and regain control of one’s work-life balance.

For example, if you were to work hard for 1 hour, following the 3.3 rule would dictate that you should take a 20 minute break afterwards.

An Invitation to Action

Kent’s story, along with countless others, serves as a call to action. If you’ve encountered the perils of overwork or burnout, or know someone who has, consider sharing this message. The 3.3 rule offers a tangible step to steer clear of burnout’s abyss. In upcoming posts, we’ll delve deeper into the science behind this rule.

For those eager to learn more, here is a comprehensive PDF on the 3.3 rule.


Kent’s journey serves as a catalyst for our lifelong mission to combat overwork and burnout. The 3.3 rule is our contribution to this cause, and we invite you to join us on this practical journey. Together, we can reshape our approach to work, one manageable step at a time.

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