If you have spent any part of your career in a large corporation, you are familiar with a lot of very-overused phrases, buzzwords and clichés. When I hear anyone say, “at the end of the day” or “re-double our efforts,” I just cringe. Drop the jargon and speak Regular People, for heaven’s sake!
As annoying as those things can be, there are also problems that can arise from what I call “Corporate Mindset,” based on what is considered normal or standard in a corporate environment.
In the late 19th century, into the early part of the 20th century, the continued industrialization of the USA led to different industries developing templates to how the business would run. To meet demand, many factories began operating 24 hours a day. Some factories demanded 16 hours a day from the workers. An activist named Robert Owen began campaigning for “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest” to achieve a balanced life. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, perfected the assembly line as a way to assemble the absolute maximum number of vehicles that a team or workers could possibly assemble. He also adopted Owen’s 8-hour workday concept, offering wages equal to the factories that required 12- or 16-hour days. This setup became a gold standard that would be used in many industries. It seemed like a standard everyone could support. In 1916, Congress passed the Adamson Act to establish the 8-hour workday as the official standard.
In the century since the codification of the 8-hour workday, in some circles it has taken on a negative connotation as a minimum, rather than a standard. Consider former talk radio host Neal Boortz. Before getting into radio, Boortz was a lawyer, and a good one. He had a relentless work ethic, and rarely stopped after 40 hours. How did he feel about the 8-hour workday?
This is perfectly fine for some people. There are those that love what they do so much, they can’t stop doing it. For some careers (lawyers and real estate agents leap immediately to mind), work often can’t be squeezed into the Monday-Friday 8-5 time slots, and some projects take considerably more time than that. The ultimate goal with a career is to find one that brings you joy and helps you reach your life goals, financial and otherwise. For some, those goals include many things outside of the work realm, and giving all your waking hours to the career will cause those other goals to not be met and happiness to be sacrificed. In this person’s not-so-humble opinion, it is immoral to label someone as a loser because they desire to work a lower number of hours than you. It does not mean they are lazy, have no work ethic, or any other negative connotation you want to attach to them. It means they want to work differently.
Thanks to modern technology, there are so many ways to have a career that they are too numerous to count. The 8-hour workday was good for Ford’s time, and is good for many people today. But it’s not the only path to success.
No matter what field or industry you work in, what you want to do is solve problems and produce results. For a Ford employee, the problem to be solved is someone wants to have a new car. The finished vehicle at the end of the assembly line is the result. The worker, and the team, and the company, strive to produce the number of vehicles to match the demand of people wanting to buy them. One of the careers that has exploded in the 21st century is that of Virtual Assistant. The problem the VA seeks to solve is there is a small business or entrepreneur that has administrative tasks that must be done, but don’t produce revenue, thus leaving less time to produce revenue. That business can partner with a VA and pay the VA to take care of these tasks, and while the VA is doing that, the business can be drawing new clients or increasing business with current clients. The revenue brought in will exceed what the business pays the VA, and the bottom line is improved – that’s the result. Most business owners will not ask, “Did you do this between 8 and 5 today?” They will be focused on the problem that needed solving and the result of handing the work off.
People like me can separate from the corporate scene, take our skills in handling administrative tasks and partner with small businesses or other entrepreneurs to handle these tasks so they can concentrate on growing their business. Click here to see what services you can hand off, and Contact us to see how we can partner to make great things happen for your business.