Punch that Clock. Die “Team No Sleep”. Die

Happy New Year folks! Most of us are headed back in to work after a beautiful, long, amazing break in pajamas for the Holidays. If you’re like me, you probably gave yourself the returning to work pep talk last night. If you teared up a little bit, it’s OK. I know I sure did!

I connect people to jobs for a living. It’s a pretty fulfilling profession and I get the chance to work with diverse people and learn about a lot of different industries. Being in this line of work I meet the best of people and the worst of people. I’ve literary sat in meetings with some employers and taken notes on how to properly run a company that supports a healthy work environment. On the other hand, I’ve sat in meetings with others that make me want to run to the nearest Department of Labor office. It gets bad out there.
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Recently I met with an employer who, in our first email, ran down a laundry list of qualifications and attributes that their potential employee needs to have. Must be well spoken, great communication skills, positive attitude, computer savvy…the list went on and on. I was with it, all standard stuff. I read on to the end. Immediately my brow furrowed. “Must not be a clock puncher.” I scrolled back up to the beginning of the email to check the hours. The shift is 8AM-4PM. That’s eight hours. I scrolled down. “Must not be a clock puncher.” Commence stank face.

Now, I get the idea of not wanting an employee who isn’t committed or dedicated to the job. An employee like this does not benefit the company and it doesn’t benefit an employee who hopes to advance in their career. However, I do believe that you can be a dedicated, effective, and committed employee and still finish your job within the hours outlined. Eight hours is a long time. Forty hours is a whopper and yet that’s how much time we spend at work each week, if not more. I did the math.

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I’m awake approximately sixteen hours a day. That’s one hundred twelve hours a week. I spend forty hours a week at work. That’s a little over 35% of my waking hours spent at work. And those are dedicated, uninterrupted hours for my employer. The rest of my waking hours are split between my children, volunteering, household errands, family, friends, and pursuing passions i.e writing my book. If it sounds crowded it’s because it is.

That’s seven other things that I have to split the remaining 65% of my time between. Meaning each of those things gets a minuscule nine hours of my time each week. That’s nine hours for my kids. Nine hours for my family. Nine hours to write the next great American novel (le sigh). I’m not in this boat alone. It’s what a lot of us are dealing with as we work toward success, and fulfillment, and roofs over our heads, and eating meals regularly. Literally just to make ends meet. For the most part we’ve accepted that as a necessary duty. We’ve even created a movement if you will. “Team No Sleep” has been become not only a popular hashtag but a glorified way of life. Working so hard that you literally cut adequate sleep out of your life to compensate. This is unhealthy. Operating on no sleep has been likened to walking around completely tipsy off the sauce. It’s dangerous and is not at all a sign of, nor attributed to,  increased success. Instead it’s simply putting “team no sleeper’s” at a higher risk for chronic health problems like high blood pressure, even heart disease, and stroke. Is balance too much to ask for? Can we be super productive for a predetermined, measured, and reasonable amount of time and then call it a day?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times that I’ve been so involved in a project that I’ve looked up, surprised to see that it was well past midnight. These are moments of inspiration that should be capitalized on. BUT making yourself work harder or longer into the wee hours of the morning when you’re brain and body are all but screaming for you to stop is punishment, not pleasure.

Which is why the whole “clock puncher” comment got me all in feelings. If you’re a good employee you give the best of yourself to your job and it’s only decent that an employer respects your time in return. An employee should be able to complete the core duties of their job within the time allotted. When clock out time comes, you should be able to bid adieu to your post, grab your bag and hit the doors with no worry of being judged or labeled. Long story short–I love my job. I love what I do. I’m damn good at it and when it’s time to leave at the end of the day, I’m gone. You’ve had your time dear job. Now, it’s time for me to spend nine hours killing off characters that I’ve made my readers love.

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