Why do people throw themselves on the cross at work?

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  • They want to be seen as relevant to others.
  • Being busy is the currency of the modern age.
  • They want to be seen as competent, and having a lot of work would seem to underscore competence.
  • They are confused about the priorities of the organization in the first place.
  • It’s the only way their manager will pay attention to them.
  • They feel they’ve “earned” the right in their career.
  • They’re generally pieces of trash.
  • It’s the holiday season.
  • Bigger numbers, i.e. “I worked 65 hours last week!,” are more relevant than smaller numbers.
  • It’s the essence of the Puritan work ethic in some ways.
  • They think it will position them well politically.
  • It’s the only form of communication in an office they can understand.
  • It’s easier than just doing your work.
  • They desperately want to be seen and heard and don’t know any other way to capture that attention.

Like I said, just a partial list.

Bottom line: do good work, be purposeful, be priority-driven, and give up the bullshit. The bullshit is what drowns work. Just go in, do your thing, and get out. No one cares that you spent 88 hours on something. That’s just for you, so reward yourself internally for it. The cross was for One Man and, look, I’m not even that religious and I “get” that. It’s not for Marky The Target-Mauler in the Topeka office park of his adolescent nightmares. (“I wanted to be a ball player…”)

Notice I didn’t link anything in this one and I normally do. I didn’t think I needed to. You’ve probably seen at least one of these bullets in your life. You may have even lived one.

Stop. Be productive, do your thing, and exit to your friends and family. That’s what matters. The spreadsheets and the cross-throwing matter a lot less.

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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