Does it exist? It would seem to me that the scales tip firmly on the side of work – so where is the balance?
Work takes up the majority of our working hours but it seems that employers are taking up more of our leisure time as working hours and stress levels increase. Where does that leave downtime? I can tell you that is doesn’t. We’re so caught up on this endless treadmill of trying to earn a living to put a roof over our heads, pay the bills, support a family etc… that we end up spending so much time at work to pay for it all. When you get home, chores, eating and head to bed so that you can face the next day. Weekends are the time you catch up on chores and can maybe indulge a little in whatever passes for leisure for you. Then on a Monday morning, barely refreshed we step back onto that treadmill of life again.
Many years ago my brother said, “You either work to live or live to work. ” this has always resonated with me. I don’t live to work. Don’t get me wrong, I have to work and I want to enjoy what I do. I have a strong work ethic and believe in giving my all to work, but all that results in is burn out. Over the last few years, I’ve experienced and heard more and more about horrendous work conditions. Now bearing in mind that maybe 50% of the population (this is a guess – see the maybe!) work to live then how have we allowed ourselves to end up in places that tear at our sanity, rob us of our sleep and make us dread going to work? Now I’m not suggesting that everyone experiences this, for all those people who love/like/enjoy going to work, I’m very pleased for you – that is how it should be.
Now, this really isn’t just a post about personal experience, this is something I’ve been hearing from people around me. Some very capable people, who work hard are being undermined, bosses, managers are chipping away at people’s self-confidence. I hear you say, well why do you stay? Good point. Except when they leave they find themselves in a similar situation in another company.
Why are things so dire? Have they always been that bad? Or as we get older do we struggle to deal with it? Are we worn out by it all?
I’m 44 years old and I know that I can’t take another 20 years of this but I have a plan for an exit strategy, which is a few years down the line but maybe not quite 20. My intention is to eventually be able to give up full-time work and live off what I earn from my writing. A long way off as I might have already mentioned. But with this in mind I have to spend a lot of my spare time writing, this is no hardship as I love writing, which brings me back to my earlier point of having fewer leisure hours in which to do it. Now let’s add into the mix, lack of sleep, messed up mind and inability to switch off from a demanding job and you can see what a challenge I have set myself.
“Take Care Of Your Employees And They’ll Take Care Of Your Business,” Says Richard Branson, Founder Of The Virgin Group.
ACAS: “Look after your staff and they’ll take care of the rest”
ACAS has even published a guide on how to get the right balance to look after staff.
It isn’t just me saying it: when the leading employment law specialists and a man as successful as Richard Branson are recognising the importance of a good workforce and looking after them, why is it so hard for employers to do it?
If you compare yourself to a rechargeable battery for a moment (go with me) and you keep running that battery to empty and then put it on change for the bare minimum of time, you’ll only get the bare minimum back. If, however, you keep that battery topped up you get the best from it. (You see where I went with that?) Workplace empowerment creates a good environment where staff want to strive to be the best. Constant pressure and micromanagement create a stressed workforce who try to do their best under trying circumstances but invariably they burn out. We spend the best parts of our days at work, we should be able to feel safe there.
If you are a manager/boss and you’re reading this, think about this truth: People rarely leave their job, they leave their boss. Empower your staff don’t drain them.
Leaving you with one small thought: If 15,000 people picked up a copy of one of my novels, I could give up working for a year.
If 30,000 people did – I’d have two years grace.
If that were to happen I could leave my stressful work environment behind and write full-time.
Let’s get this trending #helpMariagiveupwork 😉
I’d love to hear back from you on the following.
Do you live to work or work to live?
What are your experiences in the workplace, good or bad? Feel free to share experiences.