That’s it. I know there are some who will tell you that they are passionate about their work, and they “never work a day in my life”. Good for them, but we have to start admitting that is a very small, select, group of people in a very small, select number of jobs. There are not billions of jobs out there like that for everyone to just go get. There are not even millions of them. Maybe I’m not going to change the world by doing just interesting work with people I don’t hate. That’s OK because I have the time to change the world in my own little way when I’m not working instead.
I think this article, while helpful, also hints at a larger societal problem that many of us have been thinking about and that is what role our work plays in our overall lives and our sense of work. Working all the time isn’t just something we sometimes do. It’s part and parcel of being “important” in our society. Let’s face it, when someone tells us they disconnect in the evenings and weekends, our first thought is not “Oh how healthy”, it is much more to be “Oh you must not be very important then”.
Until that perception changes, I don’t know that we’ll make much progress, but it does need to change. Our work plays far too much of a role in our self-worth and therefore is it is far too easy to take advantage of employees.
I tuned into a webinar yesterday put on by ACEDS, and then saw today that Jared Coseglia, from TRU Staffing Partners, had posted an article with many of the same points he mentioned on the webinar. If you’re in the eDiscovery space or want to get into the eDiscovery space, this is worth a read:
Over the weekend, the wife and I had BBC World News on the TV while we both were catching up with the virtual world in our living room, and they were doing an investigation into maternity and paternity leave in European countries as opposed to the US.
I’m not getting into that debate, but there was a point where they were interviewing a Dutch mother about her career, and the leave she took both pre and post-birth. What made my wife and I both stop what we were doing was her admission that she didn’t see why it was necessary to always “excel” at her career, but that just being OK was enough. She didn’t consider being outstanding at her job to be anything that was all that important in the grand scheme of things.
Let’s face it, we all have things that we haven’t had space for in the last couple of years. If you are holding off on using PTO because you can’t make the big travel adventure happen right now, why not use that time to create that space? Personally, we had a couple of weeks in October scheduled for an anniversary trip overseas that has since been canceled. I haven’t canceled the PTO for one simple reason, I still want to use those 2 weeks to create the space, mentally, to do some of the things I’ve been too busy to do, like figure out where I actually want my career to go instead of just doing the work that’s in front of me, or indulge in some of those hobbies that have fallen by the wayside, or maybe even try and catch up with some friends virtually.
We all need that space, and it keeps getting harder and harder to find it. There’s nothing wrong with doing the work that is in front of us, professionally and personally. Frankly, if you can keep going and getting those things done in this environment, you are to be commended. On the other hand, just doing that prevents us from making changes and doing things differently. It keeps us stuck, and I know far too many people who are stuck right now, waiting for the space to make changes.
Make that space, any way you can. Give yourself the PTO you deserve.