Last night I was reading through my twitter feed and found this article from the Wall Street Journal By Melissa Korn.
In summary – Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management say that if you take flex time to support your family, rather than being productive for the company. You will be viewed poorly by management, and be less likely to succeed in getting raises or promotions.
To borrow a phrase from Peter Griffin – It really grinds my gears when I read articles like this! I feel that this type of thinking is exactly what is wrong with the modern day workplace.
I work in a professional environment with a wide array of individual personalities and varying levels of workplace engagement. After reading that WSJ article 1 colleague in particular sprung to mind.
He starts work at 6am every day, and leaves the office at 6pm. When he gets home, he continues to monitor his emails and make work related phone calls until bed time. Even weekends are not sacred, he regularly does a 8-12 hour days on Saturdays and Sundays (unpaid).
This person feels the need to be involved with every facet of the company. He regularly says he is “committed” to his work. I regularly respond to him that he needs to be “committed” to the local mental asylum, and that there is so much more to life that he is missing out on.
Unfortunately, this person is a manager, and he expects the same level of commitment from his staff as he puts in. This creates an unhealthy work environment, where many of the staff feel stressed and underappreciated for the hours they put in.
I like to try to leave the office on time. It doesn’t always happen to plan, as on occasion there is a project of task I am working on that I want to get finished, but generally i’m out the door on time more often than not.
Whenever I am questioned over why I am going home after my 8 hours, I always reply with the same answer – that I am only at work to fund my actual life, and that I have hobbies and interests that exist outside of the workplace. Things like spending time with my wife, my dog and soon my new son.
Anyway, I responded to @WSJ with the following tweet – “When i’m on my death bed i’ll be sure to be thankful for the extra hours I was productive instead to spending time with my family”
I was pleased to see similar thoughts from other twitter users in response to the article
There is so much more to life than sitting in a cubicle working for a company who barely notices that you exist. I am sure many of these workaholics have families who would love to spend more time with them.
It might be the fresh sea breeze in my hair, or the calm sounds of the waves crashing on the sand, but for the last couple of days that I have been on holidays, I have been incredibly happy. I attribute this happiness to doing the things that I love, and not thinking about work – at least until I read this article.
What are your thoughts? Do I have the wrong idea? Should I be more engaged with my job?