We all need to make a living.
The work we do for our companies and organizations is what allows us, I hope, to enjoy a well-balanced life outside of our cubicle walls.
But we also need to maintain a healthy mental state so that we can enjoy the lives we’ve built outside of the workplace. Because if you’re not right between the ears, your friends and family are not going to like dealing with this version of you.
Early in my career, I was assigned a client who came with a caustic reputation. Their actions brought colleagues to tears. The sight of their name in inboxes caused panicked moans. There was a general sense of anxiety among the team because we were always wary of when the other shoe would drop.
I had heard the stories. And I was terrified to start working with them. So I went out of my way immediately to show that I was going to work as hard as I could for that client, but it was not going to come at the expense of my well-being.
In my mine, I was not going to let the actions of one person impact how I behaved as a person when I wasn’t working.
Through my actions, and those early phone calls and meetings, we came to an unspoken agreement of how the work would get done, and I think it saved me a lot of unnecessary stress.
I believe very strongly that we should work as hard as we can when we are, you know, working. But when we are not expected to work, we should be allowed to turn off that part of our brain and concentrate on being better parents and better people and enjoy life.
If we’re putting in the necessary time, we’ve earned the right to enjoy time off, unburdened from the confines of an inbox.
This client I speak of became one of the nicest clients I’ve ever worked with, and, I believe, part of the reason was that we came to an agreement as to how this working relationship would, well, work.
Our team showed that we had the chops to fulfill expectations. And, we were in constant contact when we needed to be. We worked hard so that when we punched out at the end of the day, there was no reason to be anxious that they might call on us unexpectedly and ruin our weekend.
So as most of us prepare to enjoy this blissful extra day off that caps off Labor Day Weekend, let’s take a moment to make a pact that we will do everything we can, to the best of our abilities, to stay true to ourselves.
Work is a necessary part of life, but it doesn’t have to be an extra stressor if you work hard (and smart) to make it so.