Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Illusion of Work

Do you know a guy at work who seems to always have a lot of work, but in reality you know he doesn't?  They appear in most companies.  There the guy running around all the time complaining about how much work they have and how they can't get any of it done.

I'm not saying that everyone who does this doesn't actually have a lot of work.  Many people are genuinely overworked.  However, I've come to the conclusion that most people do this to themselves.  I will admit, that sometimes I probably made it seem like I had more than I had simply so it would look like I was working hard.

But I've decided to go the other way on this one.  I want it to appear that I'm always in control.  Think about this carefully.  I'm at a point in my career where I want to make the move from middle management to upper management.  This is a big jump, and the rules at the top aren't the same at the bottom.  While working your ass off is what it takes to get where I am, I don't think it will get me much further.

Executives need to always be in control of the situation.  Things can not be hectic around an executive.  Having "too much work" is a sure way to cause chaos.  Things get missed when you are overworked, and when things get missed at the top, they have a BIG impact on everyone else.  Further, it is crucial that management always be able to do more with less.  If you can't manage your own workload, how are you going to be able to manage the workload of others.  How are you going to manage it when you inevitably have to cut staff and produce even more?

This isn't to say I'm not going to work hard.  Of course I am, it's just who I am.  But I'm going to be sure not to make it seem like I have "too much work".  What are your thoughts?  Is it more important to look busy or look like you can manage your time effectively?


  1. I agree with you for the most part that to move to the new rank you want, it takes more than just checking off as many tasks as possible. However, it's always good to show that you're busy (when you really are). Others need to know because people associate lots of work with hard working and reliable. What's critical is to be organized and methodical in spite of the workload. Time management is complicated; You'd have to be able to prioritize, but even before that you'd have to be able to make the best possible decisions quickly. What makes someone stands out for me is effective time management.

  2. I just think it really depends where you are in your career. I've known plenty of people who never really "looked busy" even though I know they are. But there is always that person who just complains all the time that they never have any time. These people you have to raise an eye at.

  3. [...] talks about his plans to move from middle to upper management!  Some thought provoking stuff [...]