So i made the decision to return to an office job, several said that seems weird based on what i said i’d do, some think i’ve given up on my goals and reverted to status quo, some say they knew i’d do that all along, but then these people don’t really know me.
Let’s get back to my original reason for change, why did i move on from my old world
- I felt like an expense, a figure was put on my head (as is the case in many places), and i didn’t feel like an asset (light bulb moment was noticing the hand dryer in the toilets had an asset tag, i had a cost/expense tag)
- I didn’t feel like i was adding value to either my life or the company – the cost/expense tag didn’t help but the gradual change in role, responsibilities and goals, as well as changing company strategy also contributed. Nothing wrong in this, that’s life, we change, companies change, the world changes
- I felt my life was being wasted sat in pointless meetings which had no outcomes or decisions, re-working powerpoints with the same information but in different formats for different people, having to check and consult with too many people before moving forwards, waiting for replies to the most simplest of questions, life moving forwards so slowly that it felt like i was running out of time to achieve good things
- When i had non value adding tasks to do it usually meant also consuming time and money of others, so i was having a negative impact on others as well – i don’t like wasting peoples time
- Getting paid to do all this, while the company was trying to save expenses, just didn’t feel right. By moving on i felt like i was contributing to the immediate goals of a company that i had enjoyed working with in the past
So what did i want in my new life ?
- I want to look back at the end of each day and be able to say i added value, i posted about this recently https://www.linkedin.com/embed/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6392309762314375168
- I wanted to improve my ratio of value add time vs non value add at work – to do this means working only when your customer values the time, not wasting their time and cash doing work which no one is willing to pay for
- I wanted to balance off my work/life better – more time with family, more time doing lower paid work which uses my skills and adds value in other ways
- I want to be able to look at the people i work for, at the end of the day, week, and year, and feel proud of what i’ve done. None of this rubbish i see around me where we talk about actions, i want to talk about outcomes, i didn’t want to be exaggerating the truth so it makes us look better than we really are
And what have i done ?
- I’ve spent far more time at home with my wife and mother, going out more, travelling and seeing places
- I’ve helped others more, whether it’s with my gym job helping people get fit or coaching people on making changes to their lifestyle and careers
- I’ve taken on this new role, back into an office but within what appears to me faster moving, easier to work within. This company has listened to my goals and my way of thinking, thought i was maybe a little crazy, but happy to work with me and give me a chance
- I work less hours not because i want to do less work but because i don’t want to sit around wasting time on non value work, so my value add ratio increases
- I get paid per hour, not per day or per salary, because i only want to earn when the customer see’s the value in what i’m doing
- I get to do people facing, hands on work to help others achieve their goals, this could be completing projects, growing skills, getting promoted, which hopefully results in me receiving thanks in return
- I may be earning far less money than ever but guess what, i never needed that money in the first place. I had waste in my life which i saw and did something about, and then after getting rid of that waste i found costs which i also didn’t need, so my requirements shrunk further and further, reducing stress, greed and clearing my head of clutter. If i ever feel i need more money then i expect i’d be able to complete this process again, i’ve still got far too many running trainers in my life and i only need 7 pairs of socks to last me a week
- I’ve had too many people say i’m lucky to be in this position, let’s be clear, that’s not luck, that’s commitment to a goal and making a few sacrifices – things like the same car for 13 years, no new PC for over 10 years, no Sky TV or smartphone, no kids, and so on. All life choices by me and my wife, i’m not expecting pity from anyone, but now my wife and I start realising the benefits of these choices and i don’t give pity to those who did different
I really do think people could look around at their lives and thinking more like this, if an entire company was built on this way of thinking just imagine what could happen. We’d reduce waste and expenses without the need for initiatives or projects, always questioning why should be a habit. If you can’t look back on the day and feel proud enough to tell the person who pays you what you achieved in terms of value add, then why should you take take credit (money) for it. If you spend your day chasing up people for answers, sat around waiting for replies, counting backlogs of work while never clearing work, reworking the same reports over and over again, adding yet more slides to a PowerPoint presentation which is already too long to fit into the 30 minute meeting you’re planning to present it in, then i wish you well but it’s not for me, i want to add value and if i’m not, then at the very least i don’t want to waste others time and money reducing value.
This isn’t something one sided though, people can look at themselves but companies also need to do the same. Structures create environments where things like this happen, the more complex the easier it is to hide or provide excuses, and measures and targets produce behaviours where this is rewarded. Work shouldn’t be rewarded so well, outcomes and value should.
It’s a team effort, top/down, bottom/up, left/right, right/left, but rather than looking outwards in these other directions we can start by looking inwards, setting an personal example ourselves, at least questioning Why? we do things in the way we do, being honest with others, and suggesting better ways to work, behave and produce results. Just to think in terms of getting paid regardless of what we do with our time isn’t a great attitude to have, we are all better than that i’m sure of it, we just need a little nudge sometimes.
To cut a long story short, i’ve not changed my goals, i’m closer now than ever in my goal to lead a value adding life. There’s still a few steps left to take and few more options on my list in order to reach the end goal which is now clearer and more achievable than ever. I will eventually move to a quiet area of the UK with my wife, wintering in a warmer climate so i don’t spend winters complaining it’s too cold and my joints are sore, continuing to do value add work in places that will give me a chance – that’s the end goal, it always has been, it’s no dream, it will happen.
For now i just look forward to the next step on this journey of continuous self development, i’m really really grateful for this most recent opportunity and am determined to return the trust placed in me by delivering value and helping others, my options are reducing and i think this is as good an offer as i’ll ever get so won’t be letting anyone down.