Author: Suhas Dutta (Suhas is co-founder, Partner at 3nayan, a niche consulting firm which uses Process Engineering, Robotic Process Automation and Digital Transformation for Strategy Re-Energization, Growth Enablement and Organizational Effectiveness of organizations)
I have been seeing two sets of people on laptops, and on conference calls through breakfast at the hotel for all of last week. This bothers me, and is making me want to write.
Many of us often travel for work. I have done that over my entire corporate career, like many of you. Millions of air miles, thousands of room nights. Platinum, Gold status everywhere. VIP treatment. Getting escorted from outside the airport straight into the plane. Taxi at O’ Dark Hundred Hours, Airport, Conference rooms, Hotel rooms, skip breakfast. Being recognized at international transfer airports by airline ground staff, lounge staff and by cabin crew. Working through intercontinental flights.
You get the picture. Many of you have been there.
As I travel now, for 3nayan, at breakfast, very often I notice people on conference calls or sitting with food and a laptop open and working through. Some working in the bus between the airport terminal and the plane. Some are told to shut their laptops off because the plane has started taxiing.
Some of them, maybe, run their own businesses. Most, surely are employed and work for someone else. I used to be one of those. No big deal, many do exactly that. When I used to, at that time, it did feel like the right thing to do.
Trying to get ahead, compete with colleagues, make money which you don’t get time to enjoy, kill yourself. Oh, well! Career growth, maybe. Not sure what other value add. But, it is clear (to me now) what it did not let me do. It did not let me be there, in the present, to be part of what was actually more important and happening around me.
Working through the breakfast will add nothing to your life. That email that you wake up to answer in the middle of the night isn’t that important. Nothing in the world is going to stop or change if you don’t attend that conference call while your significant other is eating her / his meal alone, at your table, in front of you.
Work-life balance is not an HR responsibility, nor your employer’s. It is yours, it is mine. Be a little selfish, think long term. Stop to take a minute for yourself. Be in the present. Enjoy that cup of coffee!
Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. Would love to hear from you in any case 🙂