Sunday, February 04, 2018

If you have time to read this, well, ...

There are a number of favorite topics that I keep blogging about.  Like mortality, for instance.  Despite the hard truth that we are all gonna die, apparently this is not a topic that most people like to talk about.  They would rather spend a gazillion hours analyzing some stupid shit Super Bowl ad!

Relax, dear reader, this is not about death.  At least, not the real one.  After all, there are plenty of metaphorical deaths to talk about.

Like the death of free time.

I have blogged in plenty about free time. It is such a cliche to hear people talk about how they don't have time for anything--even to call, leave alone visit with, their parents.  All because of their very important work.

I bet you also run into such people all the time.  Especially those big-chiefs in those corner offices.

Send them this piece from Harvard Business Review, whose title itself says everything one needs to say in this context: If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week?

If you do send them that piece, be warned that you too might become friendless like I am.  I have learnt it the hard way that people don't like being asked the obvious questions. People prefer to ignore the elephant in the room.  I, on the other hand, am only interested in that big, attractive, elephant, and apparently do not care to have friends! ;)

So, why do they work like that with no free time? "At the heart of it is insecurity."
Your insecurities may have helped to get you where you are today, but are they still working for you? Is it time to acknowledge that you have “made it” and to start enjoying the experience a little bit more? And if your boss is an insecure overachiever, recognize how they are projecting their insecurity onto you — how they make you feel insecure for not being able to keep up with them.
Work exceptionally long hours when you need to or want to, but do so consciously, for specified time periods, and to achieve specific goals. Don’t let it become a habit because you have forgotten how to work or live any other way.
I have been extraordinarily lucky that I have never worked too hard chasing any imaginary trophy.  When marks were the reward in school, I didn't care to work hard. When dollars were the reward at work, I didn't care.  When people told me that I am capable of more if only I ..., well, I nodded my head and moved on.  I am sure one of these days, these will come back to haunt me--when I lose my job because students don't sign up for my classes!  Working 70 hours a week at the local McDonald's, without any sick leave, won't be fun.  But then I won't have time to bug you with blog-posts either!

Now, it is not as if I don't work. Every single day I work. I even get up about the same time on a "non-working" day as I do on a working day.  It is hard for me to not work.  I am working, however, only for myself. No trophy-hunting. No insecurities.

I will wrap up this post with observations from my favorite philosopher, Calvin:


Ramesh said...

The death of free time is mightily exaggerated. I have lots of free time :):)

But yes, people who say they don't have any time are batshit crazy. I can at least speak for the business world. The HBR article is right but also says one side of the story. Much of the "hard work" is absolute waste. You can achieve the same results by working half as much. Long hours has become a goal by itself and has got delinked from efficiency of the work. You can do a simple test to prove this. Take away any senior guy from any company - take away his phone, computer, everything and send him away to a desert island for 3 months. Nothing will happen to the company - it will perform just as fine !

Sriram Khé said...

Yes, you and I have lots of free time ;)

"people who say they don't have any time are batshit crazy"

Oh my, who are you, and what have you done to the Queen's-English-Only Ramesh? ;)