How to Do You at Work
Consider that every moment we are alive is life.
People commonly talk about trying to achieve a “work-life balance”. The problem with this statement is that it defines a separation between work and life. It implies that when we are at work, our “real life” is put on hold.
For people that work full time, they will be contracted to work on average between 35-40 hours per week. Often, people can choose to work many more hours than this though; I myself have known periods of consistently working 60-hour weeks.
If we look at the averages and also assume that people take 8 hours of sleep a day…over the course of a week (including weekends), people will generally spend 36% of their time being paid for being at work. If we add on 1h for lunch breaks and a 30-minute commute to work each way, this percentage jumps up to 40%!
That is a lot of our “life” that is being put on hold!
Homo Sapiens have been so successful as a species due to our intelligence and adaptability. This ability to adjust our approach and strategies in different situations is hard wired in to us as a species. Our genetics are designed to create bodies and minds which will sub consciously mould and adapt to our environment.
It is great that we have this ability, but we do need to be mindful of the choices that we make which can cause us to subconsciously adjust and adapt.
The concept of work life balance is and imagined human construct. It only lives as data in the human brain. Our bodies and biological systems do not know the difference, they operate like every moment we are alive is life.
If you spend 36-40% of your time doing something, you are going to adapt; both consciously and sub consciously. This subconscious adaptation is trigged by the conscious choices we make; choices such as how we perceive the work environment, the value we place on hierarchy and dominance structures, and the way we view our colleagues at work.
Let’s just take a look at this last point a little further…
When we are driving around in our little metal boxes, some humans adopt an aggressive posture of invincibility. If someone is a little slow to set off in front of us at the lights, we may choose to take offence to this. Similarly, if someone get a little lost and changes lane at an inconvenient time for us, we might start to shout obscenities at them!
You know exactly what I mean.
And you also know that you would not express yourself so freely or extremely if you we pushing a shopping trolley around the supermarket and similar incidents were to happen.
Road rage is a case of “bubbleitis”!
Our metal box on wheels is a little bubble we climb in to which allows us to create a psychological separation between us and other humans. We view them as their metal bubble and not as a human. It is this dehumanising separation that enables us to feel free, and fully justified, to express our rage and disproportionate fury outward at the world.
We forget that we are all humans, climbing our own pathways up the mountain.
Work is just the same…
Colleagues and Job Roles
Just looking at someone as a “job role” with responsibilities and deliverables is forgetting the human which is performing the role. Using the word colleague adds to this perception of separation.
A fellow human is someone that is involved in the same activity as we are.
I propose that changing our vocabulary at work to talk in terms of our fellow humans rather than our colleagues is a more healthy and progressive way to think.
In this mind set, the way that we choose to perceive the work environment and the dominance hierarchy that we are part of can and will change.
Ultimately, we are all just humans with different skills and experience, who are getting paid to collaborate towards the achievement of a shared goal.
Goals and Vision
At home you focus on your life goals. You prioritise the relationships which contribute to the progression of your life towards the vision of potential which you see.
In a work context, the vision or goal is a collective one, and the relationships are not really a choice. How do you get on with someone you do not like then?
By finding commonality.
A way to do this is by identifying your complimentary skill sets and defining a shared vision of execution; being honest about what you both can/cannot do, and what you enjoy doing. With this honest approach you can collectively work out how you can compliment each other to achieve the goal in front of you.
Remember, we are all humans climbing the mountain pathway. If nothing else, you have this in common!
As a human your attitude, skills, personality, and problem-solving approach are what make you uniquely you. You are a finite configuration of all of the elements.
You bring a mix that nobody else does, so be proud of this and positively project yourself with confidence.
Life is too short to put yourself in a position where you are not able to express yourself fully. Be that at home, or at work. If you are surrounded by fakes and game players then just get the hell out of there.
Listen to the little voice inside of you, and do what you think is right.
You cannot give what you have not got, and you need to position yourself at every moment in this life, so that you can grow yourself to have everything that you honestly need.
Your position, is your choice.
Every moment we are alive, is life.
Enjoy, for now.