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You learn a lot from watching other people. Today at work I observed several of the employees take a three hour lunch break and then when they returned, they sat in my boss’s office (she was out for the day). They whisked the door shut and continued their gossip for the rest of the day. So out of the working day, (8-5) they stopped working at about noon. Do I care that they get to mosey off while I work? No. Do I wonder about the actual benefit of the events? Of course.

As a result of this there will be no “work consequences” incurred as all of the higher level employees were on vacation that week. But I have to question, what was gained from taking 5 hours off from working? On this specific day, there was nothing gained and nothing lost work-wise. There wasn’t really much work to be done, and every once in a while that happens. So we can chalk this day up as something that never really happened. There was no progress made, but there was no regression. But what happens when you do this once a month, once a week over the course of a year?

Once a month: 72 hours lost

Once a week: 260 hours lost

I personally think that’s pretty significant. That’s 260 hours where you personally accomplished nothing. I figure there are two approaches that you can take:

  1. With those 260 hours you can provide help, improve your company, and get ahead on projects so you can progress in your field. By doing this you speed up your career track and make some sort of a gain. Either by money, influence, charity, or whatever it is that motivates you. Why do you do what you do?
  2. With those 260 hours you can work on what YOU believe in outside of work. Starting a business, volunteering, studying a passion. If you don’t love what you do, the purpose of work is to be able to provide and support you while you work for that goal. There should be no wasted time, you should always try to better yourself otherwise you’re selling yourself short.

Some people say that they are “stuck” or they can’t really do much more at their company. This type of thinking is a microcosm of their opinion on life. You’re not getting 260 hours of “free time from work”, you’re wasting 260 hours of your own life. Everything in life is a choice, you work because you love what you do, or you work to achieve a higher goal that means something to you. By doing anything but giving your all, you’re wasting your time, not your companies.

Always ask yourself why.

One thought on “Why do we work?

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