Are We Suckers?

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This editorial was originally published on Dec 18, 2015. It is being republished as Steve is on vacation.

I written about learning to say no. I've noted that we must find a balance in life with work. I try to encourage you to work hard, get better at your job, and bring value to your employer. I certainly know there are plenty of employees that coast along in their jobs, doing often less than what I would consider the minimum. I'm hoping that more and more of you are trying to do better.

However, when I read pieces like this one where a CEO wonders why employees don't work harder, I get frustrated by managers that don't seem to understand that work is merely work for many of us. We enjoy it, we want to do well, but it's just a part of our lives. We have other things in life that we love and are more important than work.

However I also know there are plenty of you that go the extra mile. You routinely work outside the normal business hours to solve problems, or just deploy changes to system. I've been there, and I've wondered why I'd bother working from 11pm Sat - 4am Sun for "routine maintenance" if I wasn't being paid an hourly wage. This week, what do you think about this?

Are we suckers for working extra hours?

I know plenty of people enjoy the work, and they rise to the challenge of responding in a crisis. One of the hardest things I had to manage was getting people to go home and rest when faced with an extended crisis. It seems I had no shortage of employees that wanted to work 30, 40 or more hours in a row, and I'd argue to send them home to rest because I'd need them to work tomorrow night.

I think that we should make an honest effort to give our employers value. We should do the work assigned, perhaps do it better today than yesterday, and be flexible when more work is needed. I also think employers should do the same thing. Extra hours at work should be extra time off. Compensation should relate to to performance, but not hours worked. Sacrifice by employees should be met with sacrifice by employers.

In other words, just like my balance between work and life, there should be a balance between employers and employees with each side respecting the other.

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