A top Birmingham lawyer has hit out at the "slave" culture at many professional firms.
Diane Benussi says bullying bosses have lost sight of the fact that they are dealing with human beings.
Her call came as Birmingham Future urged employers to think seriously about the issue of work/life balance. The plea coincides with today's Work Your Proper Hours Day when, according to the TUC, the average person who does unpaid overtime finishes the period they work without pay every year and start earning.
Sarah Gee, chairman of Birmingham Future, which represents young professionals, said: "The long hours culture seems to be taken for granted in the professional services sector.
"The financial rewards in many firms can be high, but the sector and the city risk losing young professionals if they are not fulfilled, lack purpose and are not in a position to pursue their family and personal lives.
"Work Your Proper Hours Day should apply equally to this sector in just the same way as the many industries represented by the TUC."
Ms Benussi, chairman of Future's parent body, Birmingham Forward, said: "It is sad that young people say that careers should be adding satisfaction to their lives. I say life is about living – getting married, having children and not necessarily about your job."
Ms Benussi, who runs a specialist divorce firm, went on: "I am very paternalistic about my staff.
"I think the large firms have forgotten this is not slavery. The people who are running these firms are making a mint out of people working long hours. It is a bullying culture of achievement – they have lost sight of the fact they are dealing with human beings.
"The meaning of life is not knackering yourself, working yourself into the ground, earning more and more money. There comes a point when you stop and ask why you need all these things."
Ms Gee added: "One chap told me when he goes to buy a suit, he buys two jackets so he can wear one home and keep one on the back of the chair so the boss still thinks he is in the building."