Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Work and Relationships

I am starting to have a change in my life. We'll see if it sticks.

It happened on Monday, and interestingly it may have been Fear Mor who initiated it. As I was rushing out the door (obviously a bit frustrated by the start of events on Monday) he said "Why don't you just quit?" He probably meant it in jest, but my response was somewhat more "enthusiastic" than I had anticipated: "I don't have another option at this point. I need this job."

I didn't think much about it as I ran through my day, and then ran through yesterday as well - except that at the end of the day as I went home, I suddenly realized I had developed an edge. I was leaving at a time I chose (not a time I wanted, but we're working on that), having accomplished a fair amount at work, on my terms. In other words, I had actually been proactive.

Proactivity, as you may recall, is the first of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey. As part of my retrenchment and reconsideration, I have begun rereading his book and listening to the CD I have of him.

One thing that I have realized that being proactive means (at least to me) is that I actually accomplish something, rather than mark time being somewhere. Yes, it's important to maintain good relationships (more important in my line of work than most); at the same time, I can have great relationships and get nothing accomplished.

The other thought this provoked was around the future direction of my life. I really enjoy those with whom I work, but the reality is that I will not work with these good folks forever. If I sacrifice my future to make my present livable I've not really gained anything either now or in the future.

Relationships are important - indeed, some of my greatest friends now (Bogha Frois, Songbird) came out of work relationships. But they were relationships founded through work and built on common interests, not founded to the exclusion of work in favor of catering to the individual.

Work and good relationships are not mutually exclusive - but both must be managed actively so that one does not overcome the other.

"Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done." - James Ling, American Businessman

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