The work of balancing Work and work.

6 07 2015

“One important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously.  The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.” ~Margot Fonteyn

To me, “work” really means 2 very distinct things.  The first is the Work that we do for others while being employed.  That means the products and/or services that we “make” during the Work day.  These are the things that have to be done right as often as possible.  They’re the things that we produce for our customers, whom we all need to Work towards making and keeping happy.  This Work is what we’re paid to do.  Think of it as the upper case “W”ork, which needs to be taken seriously if we want to continue to make money.

Then there’s the place that we come to – our workplace.  This work has to have some structure around it (i.e. hours of work, work locations, dress code) so that we can deliver on Work #1.  However, within the rules outlined, and keeping in mind the Work that we have to do, we do have the flexibility to enjoy our work.  That means not relying on titles, and instead treating our co-workers as equals.  It’s having a laugh with a peer, or doing something nice for a friend at work.  This more casual, lower-case “w”ork is the culture that we create, and the people we work with – it’s not what we’re paid to do, it’s what we do because we want to.  Be sure you’re not taking the second work, nor yourself, too seriously, or both Work and work will be something that you regret going to every day.

Speaking of imperative…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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