there is a lot of discussion lately surrounding marissa mayer’s decision to discontinue the work from home policy at yahoo!
people both for and against the decision have stated their case ad nauseum, so i won’t do that here. (for the record i support marissa’s decision.) but one thing i wanted to comment on are the comments on marissa having a nursery in her office. they claim the ban on working from home is an attack on working parents—mostly working mothers—and that it’s unfair that she gets to take care of her child while other yahoos can’t.
but think about your own organization. how many perks do the people above you in the hierarchy get?
company-issued smart phones?
the ability to expense certain items you can’t?
in any hierarchical structure, the people at the top get more than the people at the bottom. that’s part of what drives people to reach those upper echelons. bigger offices, fancier conference rooms, personal assistants. if you’re not going to storm the castle in disgust at your own organization’s leadership for taking advantage of opportunities that you don’t get, then perhaps we should be a little more lenient towards marissa mayer.
it’s just the perks of being a CEO.
“it’s going to be like that anywhere you go. you just have to play the game.”
you may play the game, and you may play the game very well. it may even work out for you on a few occasions. a raise here, a promotion there—but be careful.
if you play the game long enough, you may start to hate the player you’ve become.
image by cheukiecfu, flickr artist
work is a lot like racing cars.
the one’s who go full throttle all the time are the ones who surely wreck. the key is being smooth around the track, easing into and out of turns and knowing exactly when to shift.
there’s this thought that if you’re not writing code all day, or you’re not editing powerpoints all day â€” if you’re not on the throttle the entire timeÂ from 8 to 5 â€” that you’re not really working.
and it’s bogus.
if you’re doing nothing but ‘taking care of business’ all day long, you’re forgetting about the most important part: you.Â if you don’t slow it down every now and then, you’re going to end up in the wall, and that’s not good for anybody.
image by steve.grosbois, flickr artist
you work for 32 hours from monday through thursday. Â you wake up on friday morning with an extra spring in your step,Â looking forward to the upcoming weekend. Â but today isn’t your ‘normal’ friday; today is different.
instead of working on client deliverables, or manning the grill at a local restaurant, or waiting tables down at the pub, you get 8 hours to do whatever you’d like to do.
what would you do with it?
would you start work on that big idea you’ve always had? Â would you enroll in a culinary course in your area? Â would you learn how to brew your own beer? … or would you play farmville on facebook? Â or sleep in until noon? Â or drink some free cold ones that your friends bring you out back behind the bar?
if you’re an employer, why not give your employees 8 hours a week and see what they do with it? Â trust me, you’ll recognize the ones who are worthwhile and the ones who aren’t very quickly.
then, invest heavily in the ones that are because they’re going to take your organization places. Â they’re natural born world-shakers.
image by wfyurasko, flickr artist
recently, i had a conversation with my career manager at work (that’s kind of like a mentor to non-booz allen people). Â we talked about a few different topics, one of them was “work-life balance.”
the question of “how’s your work-life balance?” is always met by me with the same answer: “i don’t really have one.” Â it’s not because i’m not afforded the support of my teammates or my leadership. Â booz allen actually doesn’t like when we work too hard, too much. Â our firm recognizes that happy workers are better workers, and they don’t want their best and brightest minds getting burned out. Â but for me, i just really enjoy what i do. Â i’ve got some great teammates â€” fantastic ones even. Â i’ve got a whole digital collection of coworkers from twitter, yammer, and other online realms whom i love interacting with every day. Â why would i want to take time away from that? Â but at the same time, i am also a bit fearful of taking vacations or leaving work early when i’ve met my billable hours for the month. Â the reason why is because of the college football paradigm.