We Work to Live

I had a lot of reflection this week, because there were just so many things happening that I was literally overwhelmed at times. On Wednesday, I came home and told Tom I think I was having a mid-life crisis. Yes, that’s what it had to be.

I’m concerned about society.

Companies are just running their staff too short. The average employee does the work of two. Gone are the days when you have time to take a break or eat lunch — or the days you actually had a relationship with your suppliers and vendors. I can remember a time when I had a standing lunch date every week with one of our printers. He was the epitome of customer service — and our working relationship turned into a lifelong friendship. He not only went above and beyond for us and our deadlines, but he taught us everything we needed to know about printing. Thanks Randy! Today, I can’t even find the time to have lunch with him every few months. That’s so pathetic.

Gone are the days of those relationships. I wonder who will be the ones to teach our younger employees. I guess employees in these companies will just have to do that too, along with all the other hats they have to wear. Companies have replaced many of their seasoned employees with newbies for significantly lower salaries — and then work them well past 5:00, because they are doing the job of two people, without the experience or training to do the job of one. Having a bad day happens often. It’s stressful for everyone.

I think the frustrations coming from the corporate world are evident in every aspect of our lives. People are having trouble coming out of the pressure and the stress of their daily work grind. From incidents of road rage — to senseless shootings in public places — it’s how human beings are showing their frustrations and unleashing their wrath. The world is just moving too fast — in the get-it-done-yesterday world of today. This is not sustainable. This is not healthy — and this is not the American dream.

And now companies are faced with a new dilemma. The online poacher. Yes, let’s call it what it is — online recruiters doing what I consider illegal (hence poaching) and unethical — online stalking through companies like Linkedin — recruiting passive employees. What that means is these recruiters are calling my happy employees not looking for a new job, and showing how the grass is greener somewhere else — enticing them until they leave. Something new is always exciting and attractive for the first month. It takes at least a year or more to get someone fully acclimated in their role, and they’re gone before they even had a chance to accomplish anything at all. Yes, in the past three weeks, I’ve lost two awesome employees to Linkedin recruiter poaching. I will never advertise with them again, and I certainly canceled my premium membership — there’s no reason to support an online company that doesn’t have a code of ethics. I talked to two of my client companies today that have recognized this exact problem — even defining it as poaching. When major corporations pull out of Linkedin, maybe they’ll reconsider their position.

So, in turn, we’re creating a rotating door culture. In the door, out the door — one day these employees will have more than four jobs on their resumé and be making too much money for companies to want them anymore — and they’ll replace them with new newbies. And it starts all over again. People are so concerned about their opportunities and getting ahead in their careers. One day, they’ll look back and realize it’s not really so important at all. Or realize maybe the grass wasn’t so green.

I had lunch with a good friend of mine from high school this week. And yes, we found the time after months of us trying to connect. And, Nancy is at the same place I am — she’s not willing to live to work — she is blest with the most beautiful little girls and a wonderful husband. But she fights that battle everyday — to come home and not unleash the frustrations of her day on her family. She told me about a Christmas card she received from a classmate of ours who lost his wife tragically last year. She had sent him a note when his wife was killed and he remembered her with this card. He created a fold-out, custom card with beautiful memories of their family. And his message was a positive one about being thankful that it all happened in the first place. Nancy now keeps this card displayed in her office — and when she’s feeling frustrated, she looks at it and remembers what’s important. It’s amazing how one life touches another.

I remember in the 1990’s when companies talked about how technology would change the way we do business. Oh, it certainly has — but in some ways, not for the better. Why do people feel they need to be connected to their workplace 24/7? My husband refused a Blackberry at work, because he refuses to check email on his personal time. I admire him for being able to walk away and enjoy his time away from the office. But, he’s one of few. Most people are afraid to refuse that — maybe even more, feel important to have that “power.” When will people realize we need space and freedom from our work environments? We work to live — not the other way around. And, I think most employees want to make that impression and strive to climb to the top quickly — they’re willing to live for work. I was there once, and I refuse to go back. So I say no to new technology. I don’t want a wrist watch that I get my email on — or a pair of glasses with a computer screen — my eyes are bad enough already. Enough is enough.

Or how about vacation? How many people can actually take a vacation and walk away from their jobs? Part of every trip for me is knowing that I’m connected. If I go out of the country, I spend time preparing and making sure I can get email and messages from the office. And why? I work with the best group of people — and I truly trust them to take care of business — why do I need connected? Because, I have been trained for the past 15 years that I have to be. Slowly, I am relearning to let go of these ridiculous notions.

MarketSpace is taking a stand, and I’m leading the charge! We will lead by example and hire only those employee who support our code of conduct — we work to live. For those who want to work around the clock — we don’t want you. And for that online recruiter — bring it on — I will never hire you to hire for us, and one day corporations will tire of your tactics too.

So hence, my mid-life crisis is realizing that we need to slow down. We need to stop and smell the roses. Nobody can really live in this hectic, faithless, senseless, stressed, and uncaring world as it is. It’s our jobs to make it better. How many of you are with me? I
B E L I E V E  if we all take a stand, we can change society. It has to start somewhere. And today, it starts with me.

2 thoughts on “We Work to Live

  1. Tracy Schubert

    Amen!! I’m with you. We shouldn’t feel guilty about time away from work. We need to enjoy those moments with friends and family because life is way too short!! We need to teach our children (and some adults too!) what it really means to fully give your attention to someone without the distraction of an electronic device! Amen! I BELIEVE words ring so true, Pam!

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  2. Pam Believes Post author

    Thanks Tracy. Especially in lieu of the bombings in Boston yesterday — what senseless acts — our time on this earth is so limited, and we need to prioritize the things that really matter.

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