In my years of leading and managing, I have observed all types of work ethics. As a student of leadership, I have read books and attended conferences on organizational development and workplace issues. One frequent message I have heard in the last few years is the encouragement to work less and enjoy life more. I know the reason. There is an epidemic of over-achievers in our society neglecting family and failing to enjoy life because they are consumed with things of lesser importance.
While I agree with this advice for those that need it, I have to be honest about something. Some people don’t need this advice. Some people need the encouragement to work harder to achieve the goals and objectives they have for their life, but also to honor the commitments he or she has made to their employer. I cannot tell you how many marriages I have counseled where one of the main problems was a lazy spouse, not to mention the Biblical truth that laziness is a sin.
The bottom line for me is that your personal work ethic should determine the style or degree of discipline you need in regards to how much you work.
There are two extremes of employees that I have observed.
The extremely low-productivity work ethic:
This type employee would often prefer not to be working at all. They max out their sick days. They leave work as soon as the clock ticks end of workday. They stretch lunch breaks. People wired this way don’t need to hear a message on taking more time off from work. They have that “skill” fully developed. That type “encouragement” may cause them to work even less than they are currently working. It’s not that they are bad people they just have the opposite of a workaholic drive in them. For them they may need to discipline themselves to work harder.
The extremely high-productivity work ethic:
This type employee loves to work. They seldom take a sick day. They have to force themselves to take days off and when they do they are constantly checking their messages or calling back to the office. They work late and almost have to be pushed out the door. They don’t need a message on how employees need to work harder. This type “encouragement” fuels their resentment towards other employees who don’t share their work ethic and causes them to justify his or her over indulgence with work. For them they need to discipline themselves to work less. (I fit in this category, by the way.)
In between these two extremes are various degrees leaning towards one extreme or the other. Learning to strike the healthy balance that achieves goals and objectives and honors an employers time, while protecting family time and taking time to rest, should be the goal.
Which are you? Be honest with yourself as we head into another year and discipline yourself accordingly.