I had an interesting conversation in my training this week. We were going around and sort of trying to help each other solve our work-related problems. I couldn’t come up with anything good for an 8 minute discussion, but after listening to someone become a workaholic, an idea popped into my head.
I have a coworker who makes me look bad. Not intentionally, of course. She loves her work and is definitely a yes man. She never says no to anyone. Which means that she has way more on her plate than she can handle. Which then means she works crazy overtime, but never puts in requests for overtime pay or compensatory time. She’s been known to work all night and take a 2 hour power nap curled up under her desk at 2 am.
I think that’s nuts.
Sure, she gets a lot done, but at what cost? She has no free time, and that kind of lifestyle can’t be good for your health. We all have times where we have to put in extra hours at work, and more often than not, we aren’t compensated for those hours, but that’s okay. We have jobs, and the power of a job well done is important.
The problem is that not everyone realizes the hours she’s putting in, so it looks as though she’s accomplishing twice what I accomplish in the same amount of time, and it’s a struggle for me at times. No one has ever directly said anything to me, but I always feel like the lesser employee and that maybe I should be taking on more during my own personal time.
The group vehemently disagreed with me when I suggested that. In fact, many of the managers pointed out that I should try to bring her actions to the attention of the supervisors, because it is unsafe for her, both in terms of her health and in terms of the fact that yes, it’s a secure building, but sleeping under the desk when no one knows you’re there is not a good idea. And I should try to step up and offer help to her – but not to the detriment of her work.
Many people thought that what was ultimately going to happen was that she was going to get sick or make a large mistake or do something that reveals her current work situation and it will turn out badly for her. Why? Because she’s overloaded. She needs to learn how to say no and how to prioritize and to say “I would like to do this project for you, but I have these other projects. Can this wait?” Sometimes, the boss makes you do things, but you can’t volunteer to take on things just to make yourself look good.
I’m guilty of overloading my personal time, and I’ve been working on that somewhat. I’m good at work priorities, but when it’s personal, I’m always saying yes. I need to value myself and learn to say no and better balance my time so that I can get all of my responsibilities completed without sacrificing my health or happiness.
And I hope no one reading this regularly sleeps under their desk due to work. At least get a cot or something.