Sunday, June 16, 2013

Play it cool!

I always come away a complete mess after cleaning my kitchen, bathroom or washing the car or my dog. My shirt  sleeves will be soaked, I'll have a smudge of grim on my cheek, sweat dripping down my temples, and I'll be completely worn out. I throw myself into my work - any work. While this is okay in housework since it goes relatively unnoticed, this kind of behavior is not rewarded in the business world. In fact, I would say it's generally discouraged: "Don't work so hard, you're making the rest of us look bad!" Ironic isn't it? Or is it. Doing more with little effort seems to be a logical professional strategy. To look like "Cool Hand Luke" in a stressful environment is important in a competitive situation when the competitors are other co-workers. Those cool customers who are able to pull this off are often rewarded with advancement and accolades. Whether they actually did the work that they get credit for doesn't really matter - as long as it got done under their watch.  

I've encountered this more times than I care to recall and for me, personally, it has prevented further advancement and much internal angst. And I know it's because I'm seen running around, with my sleeves rolled up and sweat dripping down my face (literally and figuratively). I don't know why I feel like I have to do this but it probably has something to do with how I was brought up... if you aren't seen running your butt off, then you aren't working hard enough. Somehow I got this subliminal message through the years. This is really funny because I am always touting the importance of doing more with less (an important management strategy) but I still remain in the position of feeling like I have to run my butt off to impress and get noticed by others. It never works and the older I get, the harder it is to do. My knees can't take it. 

So check your brow at the end of the day, if you've been sweating - and not because of an hour on the treadmill - you probably need to rethink your work approach. I know I did. 

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