Do we lose sight of what really counts?
Recently I have the feeling as if nothing seems to be important anymore except of “standing out of the crowd” or “being exceptional” or also “being utterly successful”.
Is this really all that matters? Why are we live through our jobs instead of bringing our personality into work? Counted as numbers and cherished only when achievements are visible.
Corporate life is seriously making me tired and let me wonder what I can change to be more mindful and more human in what I’m doing.
My recent job is project manager in a quite big research company, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if I’m a manager or a worker, I need to fulfill my job obligations like everyone else. The only difference is that I wonder if I’m in a position to change things profoundly, because this is what it would need to make me happy with what I’m doing.
I work with a team, several teams on different projects, and I’m supposed to manage the project which also means to manage the team. It’s getting harder to do this recently because we are put under pressure from so many different angles that I already struggle and I’m in this position quite a while and know how to distinguish between important and not important. The trend is to focus on the not important because a few upper management people sat together and thought they need more oversight and so they set goals for them internally and to meet these metrics we need to report.
Of course there is a need of oversight and I fully understand this need, but what I don’t understand is how the priority setting can drift so far away from our job?
If I should give you an example – you are working with animals and the utmost importance lays on the health of these animals then what would you rather do? Go to the office and calculate how much you paid for food for the past 6 months in order to be prepared to justify in case someone would ask you in a couple of months OR take care of the current situation where an animal is sick and urgently needs a vet to check on its health?
You see what I’m talking about?
We run reports, we fill in excel sheets, we sit in conference calls almost 60% of our time, we ensure that all metrics look awesome but at the end of the day we forgot what we are actually working on.
The worst time eaters are meetings, and again, of course there are meetings that make a change but be honest, in most meeting we have throughout a week we aren’t productive. We talk about work that has been completed (which obviously could be shared in an email), we talk about where we are on this day (which is OK in meeting one of a week) and we talk about what we need to do to reach goals. But instead of staring to work on these goals we jump right into the next meeting, and the next, and the next, and then it’s 2 pm and we completely forgot to have lunch but cannot go anyway because we have to use the one-hour time-slot before the next meeting to actually work.
I have many colleagues with families and children, and also those without, one thing is equal for all of us at the end of the day when we are exhausted in our own home falling asleep early because we know what awaits us the next day at work: We start to wonder if we work for a living or live to work.
The answer is clear for me. I work for a living, this is not a question at all, but I also realize more and more that I want to see a change – be it a major shift of my personal work life or be it a major shift of valuing employees in the company I’m working for.
We all know these workaholics and we will never change their perception, that’s fine, but we need a change for the rest. I want to be able to focus on priorities and I want these priorities to be the humans, the clients who pay in the end and the purpose of each project I’m working on. I don’t want internal administration to take all this away from me for the sake of having vice presidents eating salmon tartes at a meeting somewhere to praise themselves.
I want colleagues who love their job and not colleagues who struggle to get their work done because its simply too much.
I want also healthy people around me and not people who drag themselves sick into offices because they are scared to lose their job.
I want to have working hours flexible but respected, I don’t want to receive meeting invites for 8 pm my time just because others are too ignorant to realize that they are in a different time zone.
I want managers who care about their people and wish them a well-deserved weekend instead of asking them on a Friday noon for some extra work.
Do I want far too much? I don’t think so because it’s known that happy people are more productive than unhappy people. So hey, companies out there, what are you waiting for?
It’s not really too complicate to make employees happy.
Provide them with a proper workplace
Ensure they have coffee, tea and water supply
Offer them a time to have lunch
Allow them to take their work home when needed
Be as flexible as you expect it from your employee
Ensure they can handle the amount of work within their scheduled work time
Show them that you support families
Give them a bonus work good work
This list could go on but I hope you realize what I mean – I did not even add the high salary because not everything is about money. Of course we want to be paid properly for our work (and it would be nice if women finally can be paid equally rather sooner than later) but what we want is a work place that appreciates US and is not treating us like a number in the system. We can only be good at work if we feel good, if we are healthy, if we are supported when needed.
I see people quitting to go into lower paid jobs to stay mentally sane – honestly, this is where we need a shift! It can’t be that companies lose good people because they don’t care about their people.
I’m furious if I hear these stories and then I realize that one day I may be the one who quits because I cannot handle the amount of stress anymore. Recently a 6 months vacation sounds like paradise for me and I bet I wouldn’t miss a day at work. That’s sad because it’s well known that people who love their job are doing them better than people who don’t.
Change to more humanity, change and make all of us happy because I promise you will see results after a short time – not because we run like hamsters in a wheel but because the more focused we work the better the results will be – EVERYWHERE!
LoVe from misssfaith