Topic of the Week Waiting to Exhale
- Do your job, don't be your job.
- Trust others.
- Get a life.
- Turn work off
Are you working harder than ever before? There is nothing like the memories of laid off coworkers leaving the office with all of their personal items in a cardboard box to serve as a painful memory that's still too fresh in most of our minds. Workaholics? You be, anything to avoid the fate of being let go. Which reminds me of a time I was on a date and the woman said, "Women are like a complicated maze, while men are like an on and off switch." To which I corrected her, "Actually men are like an on and off switch that's stuck in either the on or off position."
Workaholics are clearly stuck in the on position. So we'll start with a simple four question quiz to see if you qualify. At a party do you always introduce yourself job first? Have you been known to say to do it right, you must do it yourself? Does work always come first over family and personal issues? Have you been known to check your work email from the bathroom when you're with your friends or family? How'd you do? Now that we've determined that most of us are work-a-holics, what can we do about it? Here are four strategies.
Do your job, don't be your job. This could be a tough assignment for many of us, but the next time you're introducing yourself in a social setting, don't lead with your job. I've actually introduced myself as a dad, an avid traveller, a cook and perhaps the worst dancer you've ever met. Get reacquainted with the non-work sides of your personality. Heck, you might actually like what you discover.
Trust others. Will other people screw things up occasionally? Of course they will. But there can also be times where they'll actually do a better job than you could have done. Learn how to delegate and you'll discover that there just might be a second right answer to your way doing things. And it just could free up more time for you so that you can focus on the really important stuff that you have to do at work.
Get a life. I once had an office across the hall from a woman who didn't have one personal item in her entire office. No pictures, nicknacks or identifying characteristics at all. I think this woman lived her life entirely at work. Having a personal life and spending time with your family and friends is essential because it can provide perspective. Ironically, having a life can even make you a more productive worker.
Turn work off. I'll never forget the time that my phone rang when I was with my daughter. As I scrambled to answer it she smiled and repeated something that I'd said to her about her toys. "It has an off switch, you know." So should your job.
Sure we all need to work hard today, but remember to at least occasionally hit that off switch on your job.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.