- By Ian Bradley
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A senior telecom VP who came to my office for help starting a new career related the following:
I was at the beach with my family and found myself doing something that for all my career I swore never to do – work. Not only did I work, but I actually enjoyed doing it without feeling that I was sacrificing my vacation. What gives? Am I a changed man?
“Not really,” was my answer, but the context of the work has changed.
Leading up to his period of forced unemployment, my client was very much plugged-in.
As an expert in IT, there was both need as well as opportunity to acquire all the latest gadgets. Any problems in managing the organization’s systems, plans concerning development or major hardware purchases provided more than enough reason to keep his blackberry humming. The demands of his previous job were voluminous and continual, except during vacations where he unplugged. In these break times, he resented the intrusions and always stuck by his “no-work” rule.
Now things are different. Struggling to form his own new software company, life has changed dramatically. There is uncertainty, but also excitement and challenge. More importantly for our vignette, there is the issue of control- specifically control over what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. One could argue that things are perhaps more desperate. However, it is more that that. Instead of responding, or feeling he had to respond to every email, text, or tweet, he can now select what he responds to.
As an aging baby boomer, I still remember the iconic Lucille Ball TV segment where Lucy frantically tried to package chocolates at the end of a run-away conveyor belt.
Not only did the volume exceed her capacity but more importantly, she had no control over the speed of the conveyor belt. As you can image, my client now chooses to work during some periods of his recent holiday. Not only did he work; he actually enjoyed it.
Whether you are your own boss or not, either by selecting, filtering or prioritizing, control the input of your work. It will reduce your stress and increase your enjoyment.