My attitude to working

by Peter Marus

Yesterday I was in a discussion with someone about philosophies of work and how someone should look at work.  I have a totally different attitude to work and it's value in one's life than this other person (and given how certain memes have been propagated in society, most people) .

I simply see work as something one has to do to make money to live their lives how they want it.  I never looked at work in that romantic, Pollyanna way of "I am doing something to move and change the Earth".  Work is something for one to monetize their skills, and when the workday is done, go live their lives without their work influencing, even dictating, how they live.  

To me, my workday is this: I get in, do what I have to do that day, at the end of the day prepare for the next workday and maybe get a jump on what I am going to do then or in the future, then clock out and go home or wherever I want after.  That's it.  I am not interested in having some relationship with my job or the people there that blurs the lines of personal and professional life.  I rarely go out for drinks or any social situation with co workers, because that would blur that line.  I also didn't want to be reminded of my job on my time, which is any time I am not on the clock.  

I never liked the slow erosion of the line between business and personal.  It started when companies and society pushed this "we are a family" mentality at jobs.  I get we are a team in the sense of a professional group working for something, but teams break up, people opt for free agency, and teams are just a professional relationship.  This BS that your job is a second family I actually find insulting to be completely honest.  Families don't disown you if household income dips a little. Families don't take away family benefits/rights because those rights would take away from Mommy or Daddy's bonus at the end of the year or quarter.   Families, at least ones that really love each other, don't prey or exploit emotional or personal attachments to make sure that the family lives on.  If you are in a company that uses the term "family" to describe the workforce, remember that if it truly is a "family", it is an abusive, dysfunctional one that will turn their backs on you when it comes time to protect the bottom line.  Then that family crap goes out the window and it's "just business".

The "Family" lie also has led to the rise in companies guilting their workers to work extra hours "for the good of the family".  Well, I don't mind working extra hours if I have to, provided I'm PAID for it in money, not time off.  The rise of the Salary payment had really pushed this "work long hours and get paid regardless" meme, but usually it means no OT payment.  What companies will do is try to pass off giving time off for your extra hours of work as "payment".  It's BS.  This crap is in theory supposed to even out the hours you work and don't, but it really devalues the salary you make.  your work more hours than the 40, but you are paid as if you are working 40 regardless.  Along with that, some places won't give 1:1 hours work extra to hours given off.  Extra time off don't pay bills or properly compensate the inconvenience of infringing on my time.

This is why when I work, I focus on my work, and if it gets done in the time I had to finish it that day, cool.  If not, there's always the next day.  If I am given extra work because someone can't handle their workload, it doesn't get done until my work is done.  I'm not going to work extra time because someone else can't cut it and I have to cover for them.  If they can't get it done, get someone who will.  Don't burden those who have their work to do.

Does this mean my network sort of suffers, yeah.  But at the same time, it also cuts through the BS and fake emotions one would feel to people who are the predators on the weak.  The management that exploits any personal relationship to further their professional lives.  Trust me, keep business and such, and when things go bad, emotions won't be in the way to see the truth of the matter.  

Another part of my discussion that came up was is this mentality healthy, to be in essence a drone working and punching out.  After some of the jobs I've worked, it's a perfectly good way, as long as you got outside interests to do/focus on.  The key is to keep those outside things OUT OF THE JOB.  When you punch in at the start of the day, it's just work and nothing else.  Lunchtime, and from the time you punch out until you punch back in, keep work OUTSIDE OF YOUR TIME.  

Another question brought up is how one would look to others at work with this mentality.  First off, who cares as long as you get your job done.  If you get the job done, everyone should shut up and appreciate your work.  Also, at work you will have relationships with your co workers, but again, keep it at the professional level, never make it personal.  I usually say this because at some point, if that line is crossed, the dynamic of the relationship you have changes and usually diminishes due to human nature.  One person may get promoted before their friend and that could cause friction, as well as the simple reason why you don't get into business or work with significant others: all that time together-in and out of work-will grind you two against each other and eventually will turn to hatred or great dislike of each other.  

Keeping things with your co worker at a professional level works fine.  It means when you or the other guy screws over the other, or one has to fire the other, it's just business, nothing personal or emotional should be involved. The best way to be at a job is not at the top, but a level or tow below who is considered "the good guy/worker", who does his job, has everyone at the company on his side and respected by all.  That position has a TON more power and flexibility than being "the man".

In my perfect job, it would be treated as a pro sports team, where we work together to get the job done the best we can, then when the workday is done, we go our own ways.  If teammates get fired/replaced, or decided to be a free agent and go somewhere else, only his professional skills are missed, it's not some deep emotional thing.  All the teammates pull their weight, and if they need help they get it only after everyone else get their work done first, not put the other person's work first.   

I don't think I'm odd, I just know how things should be.  Life is very limited in time.  One should be spending as much of it as they can following their dreams and passions, not toiling at a cubicle or whatever job making money for someone else any longer than they have to to make theirs.