Pamela 🐝 Williams en Life lessons, Professions, Workers, Careers, beBee in English Operations/Project Analyst • Hafele America 22/10/2017 · 3 min de lectura · 2,6K

Whatever It Takes

Whatever It TakesSome would call me a "workaholic", including me at times

Lately I've been examining my motivations when it comes to my work habits and I've reached a conclusion; I like working and the sense of accomplishment when I overcome a hurdle or solve a dilemma. It's a high, so much so I actually do a little dance jig and grin from ear to ear. 

Don't get me wrong; I take my downtime.

I know the risks to my health if I overwork; been there, done that, and learned some hard lessons about how stress can physically affect you. Unfortunately it took several surgeries and a lot of recuperation time for me to finally get the message. My work epiphany created another problem when I returned to work and realized that my employer had become accustomed to my workaholic ways and wasn't entirely willing to accept anything less. After a couple of years of trying to find a balance I accepted defeat and left the position.

At first I blamed my employer for forcing the decision on me. 

Eventually I came to accept I was just as much to blame as the employer. I started it, I chose the long hours and being available 24/7 and to suddenly change the rules of the game was not entirely fair. There was no transition time, I jumped off the workaholic wagon and expected him and my colleagues to just accept the new me. I didn't handle it well and it was made worse when I would occasionally jump back on that wagon and pull a 60 to 70 hour work week. The real unfairness was when I blamed 'them' for being tired and irritable after pulling those long weeks. Rather than insist on help, rather than sitting down and discussing what duties I would and could delegate, I became angry and resentful. The debate going on in my head was between three fears; the return ill health, my natural tendency for workaholic ways, and...this is hard to admit; the belief that no one could perform my duties as well as me. That last fear is actually the hardest to overcome and I still battle it every day. 

My work habits needed to change but to what? And how?

Whatever it Takes: 

When I first read that meme my first thought was: "But that's my problem; I'll risk it all, do whatever it takes, to get the job done! That's what put me in that position in the first place." But then I really thought about it.

What if doing Whatever It Takes could incorporate my love of work and what I do while taking care of my own well-being. 

My First Step was acceptance. Hello, My name is Pam and I'm a workaholic

The Second Step was/is accepting that others may not do things my way but that doesn't mean they're wrong and therefore their efforts should be appreciated. 

The Third Step and this was surprisingly the hardest; getting others to accept that part of who I am and what brings me joy is my work, "the after-glow and satisfaction  that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demands [my] best". 

When a metric I've built accomplishes all, if not more, than expected then I'm the gymnast that lands that that difficult tumble, I'm the coder that builds an app that will revolutionize the industry, I'm Michelangelo and I just completed the  Sistine Chapel, I'm Henry Ford and I just built 100 cars in the time it took others to build 1. 

I shouldn't have to apologize for who I am, and I won't. If I was any of the stars I just listed; I wouldn't have to, but because I work in a corporation and am not an executive I seem to be held to a different standard. I'm supposed to shut down that part of me once I leave the office, I shouldn't think about my job when I'm on 'my time'. But here is the dilemma this workaholic faces every day: Some of my best ideas, solutions, or formulas, come to me when I'm on 'my time'. It's like a writer that suddenly 'sees' the ending that has been eluding them; They MUST write it down. When I relax, and I DO relax, then my mind pushes away all the 'think stress' and I have my eureka moments. My 'work art' involves finding answers, answers that others depend on to do their jobs and if I can find the 'best' answer or 'best' options for the decision makers to make a decision then I have am filled with that "after-glow", I'm invigorated.

Work isn't my whole life but it is a big part of it and when I'm struggling for an idea, contemplating a formula, trying to develop all the metrics my ideas have given rise to; then I'm going to be distracted, contemplative, downright distant, but to accept me is to accept that this is part of who I am; sometimes I live in my head. Be patient and I'll be back. 

Hi, my name is Pam and I'm a workaholic sometimes.

And I'm good with that. 

Do you have a 'workaholic' in your life? Does that work bring them the joy of accomplishment? Is it 'fun' to them? Do you push them to 'relax' and not recognize that what they are doing does relax them or is it that they can't relax until they know they have resolved a problem? 

Then contemplate my Step 2:  "others may not do things [your] way but that doesn't mean they're wrong"

Pamela 🐝 Williams 24/10/2017 · #35

I make sure I take time to be sociable, even took a trip to the beach with Lisa Gallagher, but even then I worked several hours a day, 2 full days, one planned because Monday is always a long day and my 'help' messed up a report and I had to fix it on another day. That was a planned working vacation though and it's why I brought all my paraphernalia with me. But I had my hours on the beach every morning, watching the sunrise and then a cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. Then about 9 or 10 I head back in and work until 2 or 3 then it was back to the beach while Lisa did her sightseeing and photography. It was a perfect vacation for me! Though the 3 story townhouse played havoc on my back and I was in pain by the end of the week. Sad, but I survived and will live to work another day! LOL

+1 +1
Pamela 🐝 Williams 24/10/2017 · #34

#28 I have slowed in my workaholic ways; mostly do to an aging brain than a want to slow down :-) I wish I could do what I did 20 years ago, with all that I have learned in that time I would be unstoppable! LOL

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Pamela 🐝 Williams 24/10/2017 · #33

#29 My best ideas come early in the morning; a cup of coffee in one hand and a casual stroll in the courtyard or on my treadmill. I have a bad back and hips so I have to walk every morning to work the stiffness out and I've found is a great time to contemplate the day and the different metrics I need to attack and how I'm going to formulate them

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Pamela 🐝 Williams 24/10/2017 · #32

Well Ken, I like figuring things out, finding solutions, and I've always been that way; ALWAYS. When I was a kid I can remember coming up with ideas to accomplish things; like how can I reach that limb that is 10 feet above my head? I taught myself to braiding a rope from tree bark, tie a rock at the end, do a sling shot throw over the limb, and scale the side of the tree. I problem solve to get where I want to be.
Would I rather be doing what I do in the Environmental Industry? You Betcha, but I would be doing the same thing; research, data manipulations, number manipulation, all to solve problems; it's me in every aspect of my life. If anything I have to NOT solve problems for people that don't want me solving them.
I would rather play with data than play pool(That's billiards for you I guess) as an example; there is a purpose to it and I'm a purpose driven person.

Though if I had my choice I would rather ride a bike for miles until I drop, but I can't anymore, so if it's a failure I'm avoiding its the failure that I can't do all the athletic stuff I used to. And I really can't without severe pain and paying a bigger price down the road. So are there other things I'd rather do? Sure there is; doesn't mean I love what I do less.
As for failure; Been there done that, been knocked so low I didn't think I would ever crawl out, more than once. But then that ole problem solver came out and I did. I don't fear failure, survived it too many times to fear it any more. As I said; been there, done that, survived and lived to problem solve another day.

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Jerry Fletcher 23/10/2017 · #31

Hello. My name is Jerry and I am a serial workaholic. I'll roll along making sure I close the door to my home office each evening and assuring that I get out and meet folks in person and taking part in the art world hereabouts. Then, all of a sudden I find that I haven't left the house except to buy groceries and this is the 4th or 5th day in sweats and then I hit the wall and can't get up the energy to work. That lasts a few days while I forcibly take myself by the scruff of the neck and go see a movie, ask a friend to dinner or take in a concert. Sometimes it takes as much as a week to get back into gear. My early warning system is when I suddenly stop producing two or three blogs a week. (Yes, there will be a couple this week.)

+1 +1

#19 The mentoring attitude is a great idea, Pam. That is the route that I took, which opened new opportunities for me. I enjoyed mentoring and watching my team grow.

Proma 🐝 Nautiyal 23/10/2017 · #29

@Pamela 🐝 Williams I can't thank you enough for writing this. I needed to read this. I am not sure how much of it I will actually be able to implement when it comes to addressing the "issue," but I am so happy to read your take on the matter. It felt like I am reading about myself. I am a workaholic and love being one. Work is my "me" place. It calms me. Health issues have cropped up and I had to take breaks in between. Learnt to take a break every one hour to stretch and walk ten steps.

The three issues you described are the exact three that I have faced myself. I can't even bring myself to delegate work. And coming up with ideas during times that I am off-work has become such a routine that now I know when exactly I will be getting the brightest ideas: when I am sipping tea or watching Suits.

You are awesome and I am so happy to have met you over beBee. Thank you once again for the great buzz.

Harvey Lloyd 23/10/2017 · #28

You just wrote my entrepreneurial biography. I lost the reasons for being one along the way. But it was a rehab rentering family life and finding new ways to satisfy my torrid business nature. In my life there are no questions that cant be answered and outcomes to match. Hard to turn off.

What i could really identify with was the change process. Many around me were totally OK with me absorbing the responsibility and running the front end of the wagon, up the hill. The responses when i began to engage as part of the team and not the race horse was a little surprising. They thought i was depressed, trifling or some other less than an astronaut label.

Sometimes i do pull to the point of the wagon. But not as often as i used too. I can say that when i do though the first thought with most is i am being aggressive. Odd turn of events. But i figure if i am pulling out front the team has had their go at the issue and have stalled or challenged beyond their capacity to manage.

Great post. Do keep in mind that work is a means to an end. The end you describe. When work becomes the end then the means will destroy you.