We must find a way out of here

In the past two weeks alone, I have seen three new clients whose primary complaint is the increasing volume of work expected of them without additional resources. In other words, these clients find themselves doing the work of two or three people as opposed to the one person they are. Often, it is impossible to accomplish everything that is expected. A very common complaint. It seems to be getting worse.

Too many clients are saying, “All of a sudden I am being questioned as to why project deadlines aren’t being met. This never happened to me before. It’s not like I am a slacker; I believe in hard work and take pride in results. No one acknowledges that in the past week, I was pulled into five unexpected emergency situations and had to attend an extraordinary number of ‘mandatory’ meetings. Everything is a priority. How can one person do all of this in a normal work week”?

There are two simple things I’d like to put on the table about this issue.

One is directed towards leaders and managers. If you care about retaining valuable employees (you’ll need them desperately in the coming years if you are up on worker statistics), get real about your expectations. People are only human. You may be willing to work 18 hours per day/ 7 days per week and disregard other aspects to life, but most people want to work hard and then spend time with their families or with other interests.

Free time actually helps employees be more productive and loyal to the company cause. Studies have shown that people think more creatively if they have some room to breathe and play. Suggestion: Read the book A Whole New Mind or A Whack on the Side of the Head. You may not know it, but your employees would jump ship in a second if they had a good offer. This puts YOU at a competitive disadvantage.

Two is directed towards people who find themselves caught in this trap. You like your work, you want to work hard and and get positive results, but you can’t seem to do enough to please the powers that be. In order to accomplish every expectation, you’d have to work at least 16 hours per day and put in some hours at home every weekend.

Your kids want to have you attend their programs, your partner wants to get to know you again. You have other interests that need time and attention. You’d like to relax and enjoy life once in a while. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR OWN WORK LIFE. First, communicate often with your boss. If they are reasonable people, plan out an approach to talk about realities. Work with your coach to find the right approach. If no one listens, strategize a plan to network and find other organizations who have cultures that really support work-life balance. It’s not easy – but you can pull yourself out of this trap and make a transition. Don’t make rash decisions, strategize carefully.

Life is short. Reclaim your spirit. Don’t let work become a prison sentence. You are too talented and have too much to offer to settle for that kind of disrespect. Other organizations could use your talents. Get help with this transition process – it’s not easy, especially in these uncertain economic times, but it CAN be done successfully.

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