The-Thursday-Before-The-Friday-Of-A-Long-Weekend

This is the kind of day where people either squeeze as much work into their day as possible so that they can leave the office early tomorrow or begin coasting because the prospect of a long weekend is so tempting there’s little else to think about.  Either way you go (and I would venture to guess that there are very few who defiantly reside somewhere in the middle), own your day.  Everyone has times when they just can’t intensely focus on the work in front of them.  Conversely, our concentration is not always laser-like, powered by energy and commitment.  Just raise your hand and own it –  so that others don’t feel isolated by your focus or annoyed at your laissez-faire, possibly misunderstanding your actions completely.

It’s funny how such candor is anathema in the workplace.  Somehow it’s not ok to have an ‘off’ day. That just defies reality.  Rather than reflecting authenticity, people will try to maintain an illusion of busy-ness at all times.  One of the many things I loved about most of the people I worked with was their willingness – and trust in me – to be able to admit when their heads were elsewhere, if a project was just sapping their enthusiasm, or if they were crushing to make a deadline and needed more hands.  I have no illusions looking back, which is why I inserted the word “most”.  I had my share of coasters and boasters, people who were hell-bent on kidding me almost as much as they were kidding themselves.  I still believe that allowing people the room to move within the rhythm of their lives when possible is the far better way to go.  I was able to keep my headcount low, people cross-trained and facile by creating an environment which emphasized personal ownership of the day ahead.  And laughter – yeah, there was a lot of laughter.  And an enormous amount of  individual and collective effort.  All it took was encouraging people to raise their hands.

32 thoughts on “The-Thursday-Before-The-Friday-Of-A-Long-Weekend

  1. Spot on, as always Mimi! Having “personal ownership” of the day ahead is one of the things I love most about freelancing–if I’m having an off day, so be it. Wishing you a fabulous holiday weekend, whenever it begins…. 🙂

  2. Thank you!! I’m enjoying this freelancing schedule too – and today is going to be one of those days where I get my haircut, meet a friend for lunch and take turns with my husband while we babysit poor Sir Archie who had to get a small growth removed yesterday near his jaw. The vet thinks the biopsy will be fine, but he had to have quite a few stitches and is quite forlorn in one of those Elizabethan soft collars (though at least it’s one of the soft ones, and not hard plastic)…my poor guy…

  3. That’s a very funny picture, where do you come up with these pics? The post was also very interesting. I’ve never heard of a manager who has created an environment where an employee feels they can say that they’ve mentally checked out for the day, without the fear of impacting their manager’s view of them or the impact on their year end evaluation or bonus. Bravo!

  4. “One of the many things I loved about most of the people I worked with was their willingness – and trust in me –” – most of the people where candid because of YOU – YOU made them feel SAFE

  5. Mimi, I found your blog through David’s, and I have enjoyed reading some of your posts. You bring up some good points here. Personal ownership is important. We do all have our off days. This is true, even when going to the gym to work out- I used to get there and think, “What has happened to me; I have no energy.” Now I am able to recognize that it is just an off day, and tomorrow may be much better. Thank you for sharing. Kristin (Hope your dog has a quick recovery, my dog hates those hard cones-glad he has a soft one)

    • Hi Kristin – thank you so much for stopping by!! I really appreciate your comments…it’s true – everyone has an off day and the worst thing one can do is try and fake it. It’s better in my view to just honor it and as you say hope for a better day tomorrow.
      Sir Archie is pretty blue this morning – although his appetite is no worse for wear!! I’ll tell him you’re sending him happy wishes (he loves the attention) 🙂

  6. Coasters and boasters! Funny and true. Also, it was refreshing to consider that maybe people could be candid and authentic. What keeps them from doing this? Fear of negative consequences. Alas!

    • It’s so ironic though – this fear of negative consequences which ends up encouraging people to look busy even when they’re cruising the Internet or buying something on Amazon. And then their own feelings of professional self-worth come into play and a negative spiral begins. Sigh…

      • I just found your comment in my spam queue – what’s up with that??? I think this is really common, and perhaps it’s one of those closet realities that no one wants to admit…It seems to me it’s just honest, and reflective of our humanity. 🙂

      • I’m so glad you wrote about it. Seems like this would be an excellent story topic for the Wall Street Journal’s career reporters to cover. Does that interest you?

  7. Pingback: Here comes the Long Weekend « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

  8. Hi Mimi, working in the medical the day before a long weekend has no room for coasting time (it would be nice). We are so busy there is hardly time to eat lunch. It never fails that the phone starts ringing off the hook first thing with people who want to be seen because they know we will be closed on Monday. Our schedule is already full, but we must take care of those who depend on us. One thing that has always amazed me is that when we do get to close our office for a holiday and people call and ask if are going to be closed, they then say the most amazing things, like ” I can’t believe you aren’t seeing patients on Monday” or “I didn’t think doctor offices were allowed to close”. Ah…the day is over and I am one day closer to that wonderful weekend that I have packed in more things to do than I can accomplish,but it will be great. Thanks for the great post and enjoy your weekend!

    • I think there are certain professions which require a level of dedication that others don’t – doctors, police, fire people, etc..those people for whom an off day is arguably a question of life and death. I’m glad nonetheless that you at least get a long weekend!! Enjoy it all you can!

  9. So much stress could have been left at the door if others regarded the workplace as you did. Own your day….brilliant. Good or bad…it’s yours. 🙂

    • Large law firms are so high pressure, need-it-yesterday, time is money environments that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with pressure and stress (even though we’re not talking organ transplants or life saving here :-)). You had to come up with a counter to that, to offer people a bit of balance against the often unrealistic expectations that they were required to meet. 🙂

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