Larry Winget, American motivator-with-attitude, says in the introduction to his book, “It’s Called Work for a Reason!”,
“Bye honey, I’m off to work!”
Oh, bull! You aren’t going to work at all. You are going to the place that isn’t home, where you have to dress a little better than you do around the house. You are going to a place that is full of other people who also just lied to their significant others. You are all liars – you AND those people you say you work with. You say you are co-workers, when the truth is you’re only co-goers.”
I admit I chuckled a bit at that. I am in an envious position where I can manage my workload and, getting it done quickly with (slightly imperfect) time management expertise, I have more down time than most. I try to do an excellent job, but am most challenged when I, like you, are trying to do an excellent job when another expectation-of-an-excellent-job rolls up, closely followed by more. It’s hardly surprising that we want a quiet 10 minutes to prepare for more work.
But Larry does have a point. We are paid to do more than turn up, we are (as my first employer actually told us on an induction course) to put in a good hard day and go home pleasantly tired. Unfortunately, the world has changed and that is now harder to do.
I’m not talking about back-breaking manual labour, even though that is ever-so-slightly less back-breaking than even it was.
The world has changed in that our ability to focus on ‘work’ has been severely compromised by our inability to focus properly on anything! Mobile phones pinging, bleeping, ringing or just being in view mean we MUST check them several times an hour – even if only to see why we HAVEN’T heard a ping or a bleep or a ring. Downtime also excuses a quick Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/WhatsApp session, doesn’t it?
Perhaps this is why we are now providing courses on ‘How to manage millennials’, a concept that confirms surrender to the ‘me’ generation, rather than suggesting, firmly but politely, that they are being paid to benefit the employer, they CAN be replaced if they don’t work hard enough, and the sun does NOT shine out of their baby-smooth bottoms.
You are paid to work, to produce.
Now, a slight counter-proposition, too. If you are not paid ‘just to be there’ as I suggest, then IF your productivity is good/excellent, IF your standards are high, and IF you can be seen to be a worker, THEN liberties can be given and taken. I recall an amusing story about a CEO who wanted a manager to have a word with an employee who turned up at 8AM, but went home at 12 noon and played golf all afternoon. After some enquiry, the manager told the CEO, “He’s the most productive employee you have! Get him to teach everyone else how to do that and we’ll be rolling in it!”
Work is measured by RESULTS, not merely PRESENCE. But if you can produce the first through maximising the use of the latter without burning out, your job will be safe. Wherever you work.