I was faced with an interesting choice today. I had a rare break in my day and I could afford a lunch, which means I could have left the office, taken a stroll, had a bite to eat, and de-stressed.
I had plenty of managerial work to do, but my employees are way behind and I wanted to get in the trenches and help with some of the work they are trying to complete.
Now it would please me greatly to see some of the backlog of work be reduced, and I don’t mind giving up my lunch to help, but here is the thing.. and this is going to seem weird perhaps.
If I did use my lunch and knock out some of the work backlog, but then didn’t get to the managerial stuff done, my boss is going to ask me why I didn’t delegate instead of do the work myself. And If I mention that I used MY time during lunch because it pleased me to pitch in, that is something few people are going to actually believe…. and worse… I might just get the response.. if you want to work on your time, work on your work…
So I sat there pondering… do I use my lunch time to do work that I want to do to help… or take the time to de-stress because using that time could get me into trouble with my boss? Odd line of thinking right? Looking at it now, it seem stupid and obvious that it shouldn’t matter what I do with my time but trust me, I’ve been down this road for so many decades now, I can anticipate the reactions I am likely to get.
Ultimately, I decided to work on MY work through lunch in the hope of freeing up time at the end of the day, to help the guys…. but that never happened. So I worked through my lunch today in the hope of the time going to help the team.. but it never did.. and no one will every know the desire I had to be an good employer and boss. No one will know the effort I made to try to pitch in. Not that I am complaining, its just one of those things. Ultimately we have to make these choices for our own reasons and let them go. A gift with strings is no gift at all… and a desire to be recognized for giving is still a string.
Here is the challenge and its a big one. To give and get nothing in return, not even recognition, and be OK with that. It takes a special kind of personal development to do this. Even if you get that far, there is still the trap of pride. Honest self reflection is so important to being the best person you can be.
Its even harder to believe someone could truly have the altruistic thoughts and desires I am relating. If it were not for the slaves and Masters I know that live this every day, I too might be skeptical…
Carpe Diem my friends.. go be someone’s great day!