Saturday, February 14, 2004

Stop the World I Want to Get Off

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not the only the scenery you miss by going too also miss the sense of where you are going and why." - Eddie Cantor

Just yesterday I was talking about technology in this fast-paced world and how 'people' are forgotten. They're not always treated as human beings. Rather, because they're accessible wherever they are with their Blackberrys and Palms and cell phones....they're expected to perform as machines. This particular organization never stops. It's chaotic in an organised way ....tight deadlines (and I mean really tight) need for organisational flow and interaction so information can get to where it has to be, quickly and effectively. One glitch sets everyone off target. This is daily. And within a day, many times over. Blackberrys are ringing constantly, emails flying back and forth across the globe, which brings its own challenges as far as deadlines and stress factors go. People working there barely get time for a break. Coffee, when they have a chance to get some, grows cold as the desks these cups are set on remain empty as people rush around compiling the information needed for the next deadline. And lunch? Rarely does this group have a chance to grab something and when they remember, it's to bring back to eat at the desk, sometimes over a course of hours as it lays forgotten while the next crisis is averted.

Years ago (I know...I sound just like my parents) before computers, cell phones and even convenient long distance connections, things seemed to work just fine. It might have taken a bit longer to get things done, but overall, people had lives. They took lunch breaks, got home at a reasonable hour, didn't wake up before the crack of dawn to and come home well after the sun had set. There was such a thing as family dinners. Home life is being sacrificed for the sake of work. Somehow priorities have gotten screwed up. This isn't an exception. This is becoming the rule. More and more I hear how people are sacrificing their personal lives more than ever for their jobs. And yes, challenge is good and gets your adrenaline pumping. Health suffers, relationships suffer and at the end of the day you might have made some money in the process but at what cost?

My roles in these instances are to get the process working as well at it can so the flow is there, minimizing stress. And to help my clients focus on their priorities. And while I'm in there my life is as crazy as theirs'. But I can leave and take time off after the fact. So it balances out. And they can use me as a sounding board to vent and create and work on what needs change. Bottom line is, they are the ones that have to take a step back and slow their world down. When the pace is this fast, one is in reactive mode and very little strategic thinking takes place. And as the quote says, you miss a sense of where you're going and what the reason behind it is.

Ask yourself what it is you want for your life, both professionally and personally. Make it happen. Reacting just makes time fly by without conscious decision or choice. And before you know it, life has flown by. There is no going back.

Donna Karlin

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