I’m writing this column over Labor Day weekend and so with a nod to the holiday, here are three work vignettes that surprised me:
#1. My friend, Becky, is a regional sales director for a discount chain. She works hard, long hours. When not working, she enjoys spending time with Stacy, her seven-year-old goddaughter.
While Becky loves having “girl days” with Stacy, of course, she always brings her Blackberry, which is like the third “girl” on their outings. Becky apologizes to Stacy whenever she takes a call or responds to a text. “It’s work” is her catch phrase.
On their last outing, Stacy commented that Becky sure works a lot. Becky laughed, assuring her that she did. And then Stacy asked, “Did you have to go to work on your wedding day?”
Becky laughed at the “cute” question, but ever since Stacy asked the question, she’s been wondering about her priorities. Becky asked me, “Does Stacy see something that I don’t?” Just as I was about to answer, her phone rang and she had to take the call!
#2. At one of my workshops last month, Casey chatted with me during a break and told me that she wished she could do what I do, i.e. work directly with people in a coaching capacity. She said that many of her friends consider her to be their personal life coach. I asked her if she thought about making a career change (she works for a national insurance firm). She said that she’s thought about it, but isn’t sure how to go about it. She’s hoping that sooner rather than later the right path will appear.
I pointed out that the “right path” only appears if we’ve done the necessary prep work to make sure we can recognize that right path when it appears. In an oddly wistful tone she said, “I know.”
When I commented that she seemed sad, she sighed, “It’s just so hard figuring out how to do what I want to do!”
#3. In one of my workshop exercises, I ask participants to complete this sentence: “I matter most when I….” One woman shared with the group, “I matter most when I get a large bonus.” We all laughed but she looked surprised. “No. I’m serious; my self worth is directly tied to my bonus.” I was stunned. Why would anyone give so much power to someone making what ultimately is an arbitrary decision?
The question we each must grapple with is, “Am I happy with the quality of the life I’ve created?” If not, do you deep down want to actively work to improve the quality of your life? If so, start now – not tomorrow!
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