Some years ago, I read an article about a gentleman who interviewed folks in a hospice, literally on their deathbeds, and asked them what their biggest regret was. The number one answer was that they wished they had done more things for themselves. Of course, this does not apply to all of us, but I daresay most of us.
[Productivity Starts at the Desktop] (opens in new tab)
Personally, I can relate. Somewhere along the way, I became out of balance doing for others rather than doing for myself. Think back to when you were younger. Can you name three (or more) things you did on a regular basis that you enjoyed? How often do you do any of these things now?
I bowled in a league, went to the gym four nights a week, played basketball at the park, went running around the neighborhood, went to the movies, played foosball (and was really good, too), and had friends over to shoot pool. Maybe most prominent of all, I would invite friends over to listen to music on my record player over my big stereo loudspeakers. During this time period, from my teen years into my twenties, I was at peace, in balance, and really enjoyed my life.
While I can sometimes squeeze in something, it is not on a regular basis, and most often, I am with my family. While it is enjoyable spending time and doing things I like with my family, it's just not the same as personal time. I would say that I just don’t have the time, but the truth is that I don’t make the time. There is a difference. So, the question is why don’t I make the time for myself, why am I driven to do for others first?
[Beyond the Tech: Out of Balance] (opens in new tab)
You could argue that it’s because you got married, had children, and had more responsibilities. Or your career grew and you had more responsibility there as well. Maybe your interests changed or you changed, right? No, those are answers to the wrong question. Do you, on a regular basis, make the time to do things that you enjoy—and without feeling that you are selfishly avoiding your responsibility to others?
I am guilty of this, more than you know. Looking at being married with children, for me there is a constant drive to provide for my family in all aspects of their lives. If I was to have, say, gone bowling every Tuesday night and left my wife with the kids, why would I have felt so guilty? I once went to the movies by myself on a Saturday—once in 15 years—leaving my wife with the kids. I felt guilty. My wife was not there, my kids were not there, but it was cool to be able to decide what movie I went to see, without having to consider anyone else.
[Viewpoint: What's Your Professional Mindset?] (opens in new tab)
You could also argue that you now do other things, maybe family related that you enjoy, right? Wrong again. While you enjoy doing these other things with your family, the question is what you do for yourself.
For example, you get a vacation, you plan it, spend a week somewhere else with your family. You work like there's no tomorrow to make sure everyone has a good time, and spend ungodly amounts of money, just so when your kids return to school and are asked what they did over vacation, they can proudly say they went on vacation to Europe, or a cruise, or to a theme park. Tell me, how did that vacation work out for you personally? Maybe you need a personal vacation from your vacation.
Long story short, let’s all make a New Year’s Resolution to make the time in 2023 to spend more time doing something for ourselves, which will help us regain our balance in life toward our family, friends, and others.
Doug Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD, is the founder of AudioVisual Consulting Services. Contact him with questions or comments at email@example.com.
Quit the ‘Quiet’
I have recently started to peruse some articles claiming that people are quietly quitting their jobs—and employers, noticing those that are quietly quitting, are quietly firing them.
What a bunch of garbage. As if this is something new and needs yet another identifier for something that has been going on for a long time. Quiet quitting is described as where an employee, who is not happy with their job, simply (and quietly) does the bare minimum of their job as described by their employer.
This issue has to do with character, something instilled in you (or not) at an early age by your family, friends, and educators. When you have something to do, the time allotted to do that task is an estimate, and the actual time you take may be more or less. What matters is when you are done, can you say you did your best and are more than satisfied with your work? That is how everything you do should be done.
[Cutting Corner Concerns] (opens in new tab)
If you notice that you are possibly being taken advantage of, as the time estimates are always short, do something about it. Talk to your employer, say you need help, say you need more money, but say something. Start a discussion, and if it looks like you may want to change jobs, go ahead.
But under no circumstances should you be doing inferior work—or stop working overtime to get it done right. When your employer notices your lack of commitment, they may quietly stop including you in various aspects of work, and as soon as they can replace you, they will.
We are in the communication business, so communicate your wants and needs and reach an agreement. If you are not all in, then you are out…out of good character and likely out of a job. Don’t do it.