Business Overwhelms LO13314

Stever Robbins (
Sat, 19 Apr 1997 19:58:00 -0400

Replying to LO13078 --

"Business Overwhelms."

An odd subject. It is passive voice, third person.

Let's try a rephrasing. Perhaps, "We let business overwhelm." But even
that is omits the fact that "overwhelm" is an action we do in our heads,
not something business does. How about: "We consistently choose business
over other things that we like to think we value more." Details below...

At 12:34 am 4/1/97 EST, Rol Fessenden wrote:
>never-ending, relentless kind of discipline which we don't seem to manage

Hmm. What kinds of things distinguish "relentless" needs from
non-relentless? I brush my teeth twice daily, every day, without fail.
Yet it's effortless. What gets me brushing my teeth doesn't feel like
"discipline." Yet flossing afterwards *does* feel like it takes
"discipline." What's the difference? [NOT a rhetorical question. I
really wish I knew!]

>our goals conflict, ... we sacrifice our personal time.
>love the daily and long-term challenges of work. I also have a family
>...Something has to give, and it may be work is more likely to
>be my personal time. It takes real courage to buck the pressure of peers
>and bosses

I think this is more a statement of personal values than anything else.
The way it seems to me, values aren't what I THINK is important; they're
what I TREAT as being important. I know my true values ONLY by observing
my behavior when choosing. Consistently choosing work over exercise, for
instance, means that I'm valuing exercise less than work. Even if I like
to think I value my health more.

Several years ago, I would always choose work. Where did I work?
Wherever the job was. When did I exercise, see friends, and build
relationships? When I wasn't working. The results were predictable: I
became a sloth, put on X pounds, saw my friends once a month, and had no
romantic life.

One day it hit me that unless **I** took responsibility for making the
time, my life would remain unbalanced. No one could or would do it for
me. If I was waiting for "work" to "let" me have more time, I would die
alone in a room with a bare lightbulb, wretched and alone, smelling of
chemicals, accompanied only by my administrative assistant. This wasn't
about me waiting for work to become enlightened; it was about *me*
redefining the contract between me and work.

Since then, my priorities have informed every career choice I've made.
When interviewing for a job, I'm very explicit: I work very hard, 40
hours a week. I will allocate time to improve my working, so I can get
more things done better in those 40 hours. But my bottom line is:

"Poor planning in July doth not an emergency in September make."

The first time a crunch happens, I'll make it my priority. But if we
don't then take the time to learn to avoid it the next time, I won't stay
late when the second crunch happens. That would just reinforce the idea
that it's OK for us not to learn to balance our workload and our home

When work conflicts with family, I skip work. Do I get the same raise and
promotion as the guy who has no life? Probably not. But that just
reflects my values. I look ten years younger than my age, live a
stress-free life, have lots of friends who provide my with rich,
fulfilling relationships, and make about $20,000/year less than I'd like.
My work-a-holic friends look 10 years older than they are, have
hypertension and bad diets, recognize lots of acquaintances whose names
they sometimes remember, but they make lots of money and enjoy the
challenge of their jobs. Being me is more fun.

Rather than thinking about needing "courage" to buck peers and bosses,
think of it as simply making and living the decision that Life Comes
First. But be willing to take the consequences of that decision.
Interestingly, you'll find that most people will respect you MORE for it,
even if they won't pay you more :-)

That said, I'm now creating ways to have quality of life AND income. It's
slow going at first, but an enjoyable challenge!

- Stever
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Stever Robbins <>

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