February 24, 2010
I have been waiting to write this article because I did not want to upset people. Enough time has passed, I believe, so that I can write it now.
The place where Neil works has an Industrial Revolution mindset ("More work! Work harder!") towards its employees, as I have told you before. He told me about one of his co-workers, a manager in a different department than his, that passed away near Christmas. Although he was not close to her, he felt sadness and compassion for the other people who knew and loved her.
One of these people told him that she was re-evaluating her approach to her job because of her friend's death. Although it appeared to be strictly a medical difficulty, this woman worked very hard and put in long hours. So does Neil's friend. His friend is thinking that maybe her work habits shortened her life, and she does not want that to happen to herself.
It appears that nobody knows if this woman worked herself into poor health, but it is certainly possible. But let's look at this from another perspective, that she simply worked too much. Some people have trouble refusing to work or to help out, and they do jeopardize their health. But they also jeopardize their mental equilibrium, relationships with their children and spouses, friendships and so forth. They're too busy to even take a stroll in the woods or the park.
I don't give a flying I do not care how "important" the job is. (Yes, business owners have to work extra hard, especially at first, but that should stop eventually.) "They can't do it without me", or, "They need me to do this because of deadlines". Yeah. By constantly "helping out", you're being an enabler, rewarding their bad behavior as well as well as sacrificing what you want and need to do. Would The Company do the same for you? Maybe some individuals would help you out, but as a whole, no, The Company only takes from you.
All of this is to say that people need to re-evaluate their priorities about what is important in life. You may be remembered when you're gone as someone that "gave her all" to The Company, but your loved ones essentially say, "Who was that, anyway?" We know that life is short. Let's act like it and get our priorities in order.