I guess it’s a slow news kind of a quarter because all the focus is on the guilt and whining about this little thing called life and things that are just common sense are somehow becoming notable news stories because Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg happen to say them out loud (or make them a company policy or write a book about it).
Yes, you should show up for work. No, you shouldn’t whine about the glass ceiling or apologize for being aggressive or doing what is best for your career / company. Just kick ass and don’t apologize about it.
Most importantly, you don’t need to promote the sense of guilt because all of us have it.
Which brings me to this reverse rant: I hate whiners.
Apparently people with careers feel too guilty spending too much time at work. Unemployed meanwhile feel guilty about not contributing or working on something meaningful. The grass is always greener on the other side. At home you feel guilty about the work piling up and then when you finally start to attack that pile you feel guilty about what you are missing out at home.
Here is a piece of cheerleading for your Monday: You can’t win. So stop trying.
Since you can’t be at two places at the same time, you will miss out some opportunities that will advance your career and you will miss out some moments with your family. Often, personal and professional events will overlap.
Given the two events, which one would you regret missing on your deathbed? That’s the one you should go to.
There you go, that’s your life/work balance solved once and for all.
Feel better? Of course not.
What will make you feel better is the following:
1) Everyone struggles with this. It’s not you against the whole world so stop acting like a whiny little bitch every time you don’t get your way.
2) It is not something that you will ever be able to solve or perfect and the more you work on it the more you will think about it and the more you will feel guilty about because you’ll be aware of more stuff you’ll be “missing”
3) It is not something that is fixed with more money, better job, better house, better dogs, better kids, better cars, better weather, etc.
4) Feeling guilty and overanalyzing it and just general dwelling on the worst case scenario only makes it worse.
5) Following up on #4, consuming yourself with guilt will actually take away from the focus you need to have on your job or on your fun. If you’re at work daydreaming about doing fun stuff and then go do fun stuff and end up working or thinking about work throughout… you’re just failing all over.
There, feel better? A friend of mine wrote a book about this, check it out.
Keep this log for a while and two wonderful things will happen: You will find out that you aren’t doing nearly as poorly as you think you are and you will see a clear pattern of crap that you are doing that needs to stop.
Truth is, we become so consumed in dealing with our own BS that we cannot see how we are continuously contributing to the problem and making it worse.
This is why the word “balance” pisses me off so much – it just feeds into this notion that there is some hope that you will be happy if you changed your priorities, so please spend all the time dwelling on your woes and feeling sorry for yourself and blame something other than your own poor decision making. Why anyone would sit there and give a second thought to someone that would make them feel worse about themselves (for a profit) is a completely foreign concept to me but some people are into that sort of a thing.
Don’t let others make you feel bad for being yourself.
If you feel guilty about your decision making then just try logging your activities and see if there really is a problem and how you can fix it.
Remember – quit blaming everyone and everything for your misfortunes. Only once you realize that you are responsible for the decisions and situations you put yourself in can you start to make changes about stuff you don’t like. Otherwise there is no shortage of stuff that you can blame that won’t change and result in any meaningful positive impact on you. Take charge.
Or Whisky. I recommend Macallan 18.