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Thread: Simply Sucking Less

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Simply Sucking Less

    This article crossed my FB feed today and I had to laugh. It made me think about my own attitudes towards work, especially now that I'm still doing it, a bit half-heartedly.

    When I got my job in market research I felt eternally grateful and surprised. The family had been in the crapper for a decade with no end in sight. If it hadn't been for the generosity of my MIL we would have been on the street.

    I got the job straight out of the proverbial typing pool at age 46, on my own initiative, despite the fact that my colleagues had MBAs and PhDs in the sciences, and I had a lowly BA double major in theatre and English.

    So I made up for my perceived shortcomings by working really, really hard. I got awards--based on my indefatigable effort. I'm not patting myself on the back--I'm just pointing out that I was so driven by fear of reverting back to the crapper and my sense of inadequacy that I would do ANYTHING to preserve my job security.

    I've continued on this "self-improvement" mission for almost all of my life. It has just been recently that I've lost an interest overachieving. So this article really hit home! I find now that in spite of the fact I'm still working, the work is second fiddle. So I'm feeling like, "yeah, if I can just suck a little less, that's fine with me!" and on the other hand, I feel the same tugs towards "I have to be really good! They have to like me! I have to make more money!!"

    So, I'm wondering, what is your perspective on what you owe your employers/clients? Is "sucking less" a good simple life protocol? Or is that settling for mediocrity? It's the old balancing question: How do you balance work and quality of life? What does simple living have to do with it?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Sucking less should have been my motto, especially in the last 10-15 years. The difference in reward between sucking less and killing-yourself-to-be-the-best is so damn small. I worked much harder than my peers, and went above and beyond for a lowly 2% raise. If I had done the bare minimum, I would have had much better life balance and health and likely still gotten a raise only slightly less than that. I am an overachiever not really because of fear (I was already financially independent in terms of fu money) but because I like getting stuff done and enjoy being the go to person and increasing my competence. In retrospect, I could have done a lot less and still achieve more than my peers.

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    I streamlined my job so I could get it done in a minimal amount of time with maximum output. I teleworked and had no one looking over my shoulder. I received accolades and rewards. Interestingly, I really didn't enjoy the work but was able to do it well. When I left, I was asked how I managed to outperform my peers. Little did they know, I did it in 25-30 hours vs 40. So, in a way I sucked less but was able to pull it off with no one the wiser. Don't think I would be able to do that now. When I left the job was changing radically. I left at the best time I think.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    So much of what he talks about isn’t necessarily ‘sucking less’ or at least it shouldn’t be. His main point seemed to be ‘be competent’ and pay attention to details because they matter.

    In my line of work the details matter more than just getting someone’s name right. If I screw up the details I could be making a $5 million mistake on behalf of my employer.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    So, I'm wondering, what is your perspective on what you owe your employers/clients? Is "sucking less" a good simple life protocol? Or is that settling for mediocrity? It's the old balancing question: How do you balance work and quality of life? What does simple living have to do with it?
    My view is somewhat informed by "Your Money Or Your Life" by Vicki Robin/Joseph Dominguez, and the more recent "4000 Weeks" by Oliver Burkeman.

    I spent far too much of my life working 80+ hour weeks just to "get ahead". No more :-)

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