Overcoming the Unfairly Overworked
Mind Yo' Business
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 23:03
It seems like nowadays more than ever before, students and professionals alike are convinced that each of them is more stressed and overworked than every other living being. Furthermore, in this state of stress, we are inclined to filter our sense of personal responsibility and only claim accountability for the positive happenings in our lives. I myself am guilty of believing that my coursework tightens my schedule for leisure time more so than anyone around me, as well as sneering at the fellow student who is voicing his anxiety over the workload of his inferior major. When it comes down to it, I believe that we are all responsible for everything that happens to us—the good and the bad—and that pointing an accusatory finger at our timeworn, fun-loathing Linear Algebra teacher will not complete the stack of unsolved problems on our desk.
Fortune Magazine writer Katherine Reynolds Lewis recently published an article entitled “Stop blaming your boss for your crazy work life.” In the piece, she criticizes the human inclination to blame mismanagement of time on office superiors. She quotes Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family: “Whether you have a supportive workplace culture or you don’t, at the end of the day the responsibility for making it work comes down to each of us. You can only blame your employer for so long. Assuming you have marketable skills and that you have the courage of your convictions, at some point you have to say, ‘It comes down to me to fix the situation.’” The same concept is applicable to student life: procrastination and personal restrictions, not professors, are the enemies.
Reynolds cites a research project that concluded that 75 percent of professionals believe that the only people who can provide work-life flexibility are their bosses, a fallacy continually exposed in a society of innovative technology that allows for proper self-management. Innovations like Google calendars allow for effectual methods of organization and should be utilized by individuals struggling with their daily tasks. I advise all of those that are completely consumed by their jobs, whether they are in the office or in the classroom, to either create a more efficient work-life schedule or consider changing career paths. The article makes an example out of former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan, who had devoted her entire life to her career and was forced to sacrifice her marriage and family life. Callan chose to let her career cross personal boundaries and was faced with an identity crisis once Lehman Brothers collapsed. In a New York Times essay, she divulged “My boundaries slipped away until work was all that was left.”
Because of the steadfast progress of technology and the unstoppable force that is globalization, work-life and home-life are consistently crossing paths. If a professional’s job requires the use of a computer, as I am sure most do, he probably has the opportunity to work from his own home. I understand, however, that not everyone has the luxury of scoping out opportunities for leisure time, especially members of today’s working class. Linda Meric, national executive director of 9to5, a nonprofit that advocates for low-wage earner women, stated that “There are millions of women who work just as hard as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, but who are barely scraping by on wages that amount to less than $15,000 a year. For those working full-time at low-wage jobs, ‘leaning in’ and other personal decisions and choices does not provide a path out of poverty. We need labor standards that provide a stable floor for all workers and families.” With that being said, we all should make an effort to recognize the faults in our schedules and take ownership of what may arise from improper use of time. Communication and strategic planning are essential for corporate and academic success.