1. Getting paid for my time
I used to work 10-hour shifts where I was paid by the hour. I could’ve easily done my job in four hours on average, one to three hours if I really worked hard and five or six hours on the really busy days. I know this because for two weeks I tracked how much time I spent actually working, and it was typically three or four hours. When you think of a 40-hour work week (working 16 hours out of the 40), that is pretty alarming. Even when I asked for more projects, filled in for others and helped my coworkers, I still had four to six hours of time to waste every single day.
Because I was paid by the hour, I could not leave once my work was done, so there was no motivation to work quickly. I had to spread the work out over ten hours, looking for ways to be unproductive just to fill up time so I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind.
Oh wait, I was bored out of my mind.
So I did things like start up and write this blog, edit projects for people outside of the company, come up with my own business idea, read e-books and blogs and have extensive conversations with friends by instant messenger and email.
The thing is, I was a dedicated employee who always got my work done on time. How many others are sitting at these jobs all across the country wasting their potential just like I was?
2. Someone else telling me what my goals were
Back at my old company, October is the time for annual reviews. Boy am I glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore.
For one thing, we had these “goals” everyone was required to do over the course of a year for review purposes. I think goals are great. People need to set more goals. But when the company sets your goals for you and then expects you to find the time to do petty projects, a lot of time is wasted and nothing is gained or accomplished. The employees are frustrated for wasting time on things they don’t care about and the supervisors have to waste time making sure these “goals” are being met rather than stuff that really matters.
Perhaps we had these goals so we had something to do with all the free time we had.
Anyway, the point of this post is not to make you dread going to work on Monday. It’s to make you think about where you are and where you want to be. If you hate your job, there are other options. You don’t have to work for yourself, but you don’t have to settle for what you have, either.
I really recommend the book “48 Days to the Work you Love” by Dan Miller. I read it about two years ago and never really took it to heart. But I re-read it this spring and within three months I was doing something completely different. There are no answers in the book, but it really helped me think about my life.
Miller writes about “your calling,” spiritual reasoning and God, things I don’t really care about as an Agnostic. But Miller still found a way to reach me. If you are one of those “churchy people,” even better.
I know as the United States enters the Second Great Depression, most people are happy to even have a job. I just hate to think of all your wasted potential. So, don’t forget to re-evaluate. And do it often. Don’t forget there are other options.