I LIVE TO WORK OR I WORK TO LIVE
July 5, 2010 17 Comments
All you have to do is to create an environment where people can be unbelievably successful.
I understand that this is easier to say than to do, but it’s not a bad starting point.
To me one of the critical measurements of this has always been whether your people will get up on a freezing cold, wet Monday morning and say “Thank God the weekend is over, I can now spend another 5 days at work”.
I am not talking about work/life balance here…. I am talking about work being an integral part of life.
I have always been staggered by how many people fail to make this association. I find it hard to understand how many people have the attitude that they have to “work” 5 days per week so that they can “live” the other 2 days per week. This means that many people spend about 70% of their life doing something that they basically dislike so that they can then spend 30% of their life doing “fun” things … like watching TV ?
I will quite often ask people to list the 10 things that they love doing most in life, based on the premise that if they could spend the major part of their life doing these 10 things that this would make their life more enjoyable, more interesting and more fulfilling. It is very rare that people put “watching Television” down as one of their Top 10, and yet it is amazing how much time people actually spend in front of the Box. The trouble is that it is just too easy to drop down on a sofa in front of the TV after a “hard day’s work”, even if there is nothing worth watching, and anyway, it is critically important that we are up-to- date with the News …. much more acceptable an excuse than watching the 56th rerun of “Friends”, which will be on next anyway.
In most cases the Top 10 things that we actually love to do tend to take some time, effort and planning… it’s a lot easier to just plonk ourselves down on the sofa. There has to be something worthwhile due to come on at some time on at least one of the 500 channels that are available.
I have numerous Anglophone friends in France that have both French and English satellite TV, which theoretically should give them about 1000 channels to choose from, but in reality they actually have access to about 20 channels repeated 50 times, just in different languages.
Now that I live in France, I am fascinated by the National obsession with retirement. Even 25 year olds freshly out of university, and starting their first job seem to already have their eye on when they can retire.
So can one assume that retirement in France means that a whole new world will open up when this Valhalla-like point arrives. That it will herald a whole new period of creativity and learning , and catching up with all those things that full-time work kept one away from.
It appears not to be the case. Most retirees seem to spend their time in front of their TV or sitting outside their cottage watching the traffic go by. I once got into trouble by suggesting at a conference that France could solve all its Energy needs by hooking up the chins of retirees to the National Grid. That way we could at least get some benefit out of all those heads swiveling round as another Peugeot or Citroen went through the village at warp speed.
I understand that there are many people who have had little choice in what they have had to do in life, and I deeply sympathise with them. However I don’t sympathise with those people I come across more often that are well educated and intelligent enough to make choices in their lives, and do little but complain about their lot.
In these cases, my advice is that if you won’t change your job, at least change your attitude. This is, after all, something that you can control 100%.