The following is a guest post from an old friend. Alan Beckley and I started Boeing at almost the same time, had almost the same engineering job, both left Boeing early, and have led completely different lives – except that we’ve noticed that we’re both working every day of the week exercising our entrepreneurial skills as much out of choice as necessity. A recent post of mine (Full Speed Days?) inspired a comment from Alan that I encouraged him to expand into a post. Here you go, another perspective on hard work and time demands. (If you want more from Alan, check out his web site where he delves into the life of an inventor and proprietor.) – Tom Trimbath
7 “Demons” of 7 Days – by Alan Beckley
To millions of people who are working harder and longer hours than ever before, the jobs expansion or recovery that began in 2009 has seemed a rather cruel joke. Figures from the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) bear out their melancholy. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of new business establishments and the new jobs created by them have plummeted (by 150,000 establishments and nearly 1 million jobs, respectively). These are new lows since 1994 when the data was first tracked. http://www.bls.gov/bdm/entrepreneurship/entrepreneurship.htm
The data suggest that the number of people who now work 7 days per week (not tracked by the government) has likely reached new peaks.
Working 7 days a week is not fun. Those who work 7 days a week do so not because they love their job or business that much, but rather because for one reason or another, they feel that they must.
Below are 7 “demons” of 7 days – the impact – or “collateral damage” – results from the choice or necessity of working 7 days per week:
- Relationships – very little time available to nurture them
- Household chores/maintenance – only absolute musts get attended to
- Errands of daily living – no weekends to run errands any more
- Down time – important for refreshing and resting
- Medical appointments – very difficult to schedule
- Guilt – continual struggle feeling you cannot do everything you should
- Vacations – no time for such frivolities
Relationships – The Beatles famously asserted “8 days a week is not enough to show I care.” More recently billionaire serial entrepreneur Elon Musk asked his female interviewer, “so how much time does a woman need – 8 hours per week, 10 hours?” Mr. Musk’s query illustrates the sort of tortuous thinking of the 7 days worker.
Household chores – Anything that requires more than 1 hour of attention that can be postponed generally is put off, oftentimes indefinitely. A messy, cluttered chaos of a castle is a common malady of the 7 days worker. See Guilt below.
Errands of daily living – such as oil changes, laundry, and grocery shopping etc. still get accomplished because they must, but they get squeezed into short time spans and spread out over time. This leads to a continual feeling of frustration that any possible “free time” must be filled with errands.
Down time – Everyone needs down time – breaks of a few hours to a few days to relax, refresh and retool. Down time can be a great de-stressor for the uber-busy. For the 7 days worker, down time, gets shoved to a very low priority and is rarely attended to. As a result, the 7 days worker feels continually under stress.
Medical appointments – require blocks of time during the most prime of time for the 7 days worker, business hours on weekdays. As a result, medical appointments are postponed and often not rescheduled – with detrimental effects later.
Guilt is an almost overwhelming emotion for the 7 days worker. He or she soon realizes it is simply impossible to do everything on the list, so continually leaving things unattended to makes them feel guilty. “Success” requires getting more things done, but they cannot do so, ergo they feel they are letting down themselves and others.
Vacations are something that “normal” people enjoy, but 7 days workers are not normal. Vacations are a pipe dream that the 7 days worker hopes to enjoy at some distant time in the future.
How about you? What’s your story? Care to share it? My voice and Alan’s voice aren’t the only ones that should be heard. Pass yours along and maybe it will be the next guest post.