Welcome to my first blog post for 2013. It has been a slower than expected start to my blogging year thanks mostly to being hidden away in a book writing cave. I’m very excited to say that the manuscript for my second book The People Manager’s Toolkit is with the publisher. Next steps are editing and typesetting – while there is still a lot of work to do I’m thoroughly enjoying the process and can’t wait to get the book out there mid year.
In preparation for my return to the office I spent Sunday night working through the mountain of emails that had piled up. Among them was one from my colleague Siobhan sharing a link to an article in The Age about Bob – an unquestionably innovative skiver. After enjoying a hearty laugh I began to ponder what this article says about the lengths some people will go to, simply to avoid doing their job. For the record I appreciate how not funny this story is to Bob’s employer, but I must confess to being constantly amused by how some people behave.
Here is a snap shot view of how the story goes, but you can read the full article here. Bob (apparently not his real name) is a software developer who decided it was a great idea to outsource his own job. So that’s what he did – Bob hired some developers from China to do his job for a fee approximately one fifth of his annual salary. If you are at all like me by this point you may be wondering, how did Bob leverage the plethora of time he created in his day? How did Bob use the opportunity he had clearly gone to some length to create?
The answer unfortunately is underwhelming to say the least – he watched cat videos! Yep, cat videos. There are a number of people very close to me who are die hard cat lovers and I respect the affection they feel and commitments they make to their fury friends… but seriously, what can possibly be so entertaining about cat videos that anyone would sit for an entire work day watching them? Apparently for Bob something a lot more interesting and fulfilling than his job. To be clear Bob also spared some time for Reddit, eBay and Facebook.
As perplexing and somewhat sad as Bob’s story may be, it’s unfortunately not all that uncommon. Just about every day I observe people going about their day with an absence of enthusiasm and even vague interest in what they are there to achieve. While I’m sure there aren’t too many people out there outsourcing their jobs, there are plenty of people who go to work each day wishing that it was an option. When we consider how much of our time is spent working it seems so sad to me that so many people merely exist rather than thrive at work.
There is no doubt in my mind that unless people enjoy what they do and want to have a positive influence the best we will ever get from them is an ordinary contribution. While it may seem simplistic the reality is unless we like our job we are unlikely to do it well. I’m not thinking Bob was all that enthusiastic about being a software developer – perhaps there is more he could do with his creative thinking skills and love of cats. How much do you really enjoy your job? How much fun are the people you work with having while doing their job? Life is too short to spend our careers doing jobs that bore us into watching cat videos.
We weren’t bored enough to look up cat videos, but check out this super cute puppy, Daisey and her mentor, Simon.
(Video uploaded to YouTube by Tim Doucette)