Today, I write about something that irritates me almost every day at work, and most likely irritates you, as well. Every day, I try to leave work at a reasonable hour in an attempt to get some “me-time”. I go into work at 8:30 AM and try to leave at 5:00 PM. To me, this seems pretty reasonable. Especially if all of my work has been completed. Every day, when I start packing up my things to leave, I see my co-workers continuing to work with no end in sight. When asked how long they stayed at the office the night before, many of them did not leave until 10:00 PM. Technically, we are deployed and this might seem normal for this type of environment. However, we are conducting almost the same amount of work that we would back at our office in Fort Bliss, TX.
Work shouldn’t be based on time. How many hours you work shouldn’t matter. One should not have to work 12 hour days to be considered a “hard worker”. So many organizations breed this culture and brainwash people into this mindset. In my opinion, the reason for this culture is poor leadership. Leaders are supposed to care about their subordinates. Leaders are supposed to lead by example. In my situation, the leaders in charge of me and my co-workers stay until 10 PM – Midnight, don’t have organized schedules, do not seem to care about families or personal lives and are for the most part very self-centered. What example does this set for us? The leaders in our organizations are supposed to provide guidance for their subordinates. If someone is staying at work until Midnight every night doing work that they can complete the next day, which in turn means they are being forced away from their family and have no personal time to decompress, a true leader would tell this person to pack up, go home, and have a positive discussion with them about time management. Unfortunately, many leaders that we encounter are not concerned with the welfare of their employees, and this has a huge impact on our organizations.
Many days, both here and at Fort Bliss, I find myself sitting at work at 5-6 PM reading on my Nook app on my phone because I’ve completed all of my tasks for the day. I continue to sit and read at my desk because if I leave, I feel that I will be looked at negatively. I am afraid to leave the office at 5-6 PM, after working 8-9 hours, for fear of being reprimanded for leaving “early”.
Look out for yourself and your personal time. Do not wait around for someone to care about you and your time, goals, needs. It may never happen. Learn from this not-so-good leadership, and when you’re in a position in which you can make change more readily, always think about the people that are under you. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.