04 January 2020

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose


This tweet might be 11 years old, but it is evergreen. What's different, however, is the nature of the work. In 2009, I was just barely 6 months out of the classroom and into my role with the state education agency. In 2020, I'm back in a school district (although not a classroom) and still have plenty of work to bring home.

I have been thinking about a conversation I had over Christmas. The daughter of a friend of mine is an executive with a company. She's a very successful high-level executive and the company moved her family to England last year so she can oversee operations in western Europe. Over Christmas dinner, one of her brothers asked when the family would be coming back to the states. And she replied that she hoped they never would. This was not necessarily a comment on the state of affairs in the US as much as it was work and home life. One of the things she liked best about being there is that people don't email in the evenings or on weekends. Work is for work hours...and that's it. She has a job with very large responsibilities, but doing it in Europe has meant that she gets far more time with her family.

This week, I had to almost beg a friend of mine to not check in on his work email on New Year's Day. I tried telling him that there would be nothing in there that couldn't wait until January 2nd. What I didn't say that is that doing so also sets an unreasonable expectation for others to be working, too. If we're in leadership, we need to set better boundaries and examples. It's not that all work and no play might make us dull...it also makes us unhappy.

I do my best to not bring work home these days. But I also like to take care of "future me" by ensuring that she's not overwhelmed and stressed out when the machine at work gets cranking again. Another friend of mine also reminds me to "not burn up on re-entry." I think that's good advice for all of us. Please rest and enjoy this weekend. Do the things that make you think about work the very least.

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