This article is the act of care for Jedi Younglings, though some thoughts might be helpful for a broader audience, hope you enjoy.
I bet you can imagine the situation when you sitting in the office, 6 PM, all your thoughts are about a good fresh pint of Guinness somewhere in the nearby pub or maybe you think about long-awaited dinner with your girlfriend or simply getting ready to grab your kids from school.
And at this precious moment, for the third time during this week your skype spewing out something like this:
– you in the office?
– don’t go
– wait until I return from the meeting
– urgent task
– will tell more later, have to go
The meeting ends at 7:30 PM and your boss returns with a good chunk of tasks that have to be done today, or everyone will die.
Yeah, I know all that fury and flames tearing your soul right now. Sorry about that.
I know that feeling, because during the last 12 years I went through these situations, like… a lot. And what I certainly found out is that you need a good recipe to deal with such a moments; in order to keep yourself alive. I’d like to share mine recipe, hope it will serve you well in your thorny path. And let’s start with a provocative thing…
Point 1. It is exclusively, entirely, peremptorily, without any doubts – Your decision!
So many times, I heard something like: “I work like a horse, because I can’t influence this and that, as we are going behind the schedule” or “I have no other option, so many tasks, that’s how everything works here” or “My boss is evil, I can’t do anything about it”. Well, “Yes You Can” do many things about it.
The key idea you have to understand is that you and only you are responsible for work/life balance you got, not anyone else. The decision to kill yourself trying to complete the task at any cost or stand up and go at 6 PM is truly Yours, not your bosses. I know, sometimes that’s hard to accept, you may argue, but it’s a scientific fact, if you wish – you may either accept it and become a big Boys and Girls or not – and be a poor Gollum in a small dark corner, waiting for anybody to throw a new portion of crumbs. Am I exaggerating? No, I’m not.
If it seems like nothing depends on you, why even try? Letting such thoughts is opening a big can of worms… avoid, avoid, avoid.
So next time you decide to go – you park your current task, stand up and go. All that simple.
With that being said… haha, making a decision also means facing the consequences, so better these decisions to be right. And I believe further points might be helpful.
Point 2. Business does not run from 9 AM till 6 PM.
I wish it was, but it isn’t. Deal negotiations, investors meetings, planning committees, job interviews, mergers and acquisitions, ongoing tasks – these are just a few of thousands of things that happen after official working day is over. And believe or not, these things might be important and possibly can’t move on without you.
Why should you care? Maybe you shouldn’t. And in such case, you are one of many who fairly works until 6 PM and when the hour comes – let it all burn in hell. That’s a fair approach, though is it really best for you? I’m not saying about some job consequences that – if any – can be easily challenged by labor law in every civilized country. I am talking about your benefits – professional and personal.
Don’t you ever wonder what happens with your report after it leaves your mailbox? What decisions are made based on task you’ve just finished and what are the consequences for the outer world? Ask yourself again and things will get much more fascinating. At some point of time, you going to find yourself involved in something much bigger and click of your mouse will be like a magic that gains very specific and feasible value for many people who put their heart and soul in driving things forward. Even if your Company’s business is making toilet paper – put your hand in creating the softest toilet paper in the world.
Looking this way, why not to stay for an hour or four when people need you, from time to time?
So-called “9 to 6” mindset is very tempting, but from my experience, it ends up with an attitude of detachment. Believe me, that’s not what you want.
Point 3. Build trust with your Boss.
Everyone talks about “pure professional relationships” at a workplace. That’s, of course, a good thing, I agree with that. But maybe, sometimes you should let a small pick of personal things sneak into your office area. What do I mean by that? Of course, not like a passionate kissing on the desk in front of everyone, that’s a big no-no thing. I’m saying that we are not robots, thankfully, we all have ups and downs, life circumstances, personal sides and so on.
Even though building a trusted relationship with your boss, of course with a great level of respect and subordination, is sometimes a thought task, these efforts will pay off much. And don’t be scared to share a bit of personal, you spend a good part of life with these people, for the God sake.
And when the tough moment comes:
– Boss, I’m exhausted, can you give me a break for a day or two?
– Boss, I have dinner with my girlfriend, can you help me with these urgent tasks today?
If you both are adequate and trust each other, most likely you will hear “Sure! Take your time”
Point 4. Improve yourself professionally.
In my opinion, this is the most important ingredient in the recipe. Even though the point is rather generic, it suits well to our conversation.
I don’t know how about you, but some years ago I felt physical fear about my… job. That was not necessarily about failing some task or so, but about matching some criteria, let’s say working till 8 PM like everyone does? What if I stand up at 6 PM and put myself at risk… what is some other “what ifs”? That’s creepy.
But years passed by and this fear disappeared. Why? Because I started to do my job good. Reeeally good.
Seek for improvement in everything you do and even beyond things that you do. Seek for unusual tasks, get out of the comfort zone. Achieve 99th level in your work area and work areas aside. Given that, will you be scared of anything? Oh no, you will be the least scared person in the world. Your Boss will beg you to go home at 4, so you can have a rest – just to make sure tomorrow you’ll perform at least at the same level as today. You’ll be surprised how valuable you may be when your hands grow from the right place.
Remember, people usually don’t need you to work on a damn task for 12 hours a day, they need value.
Point 5. Change a job.
Well, yeah – the world is not perfect. Sometimes all mentioned above is just a nonsense that breaks against the wall of people’s *** (I’ll let you choose the word).
In such case, don’t be scared, the world is big and… see point above. Smart people are valuable.
P.S. as a cherry on the pie.
Under any circumstances, be calm, do not stress – you live only once, your health and family are #1, all your super-important tasks are just a dust in the wind. Hope this helps!