It’s no secret our culture expects you to be a superstar at work — the ideal worker. This is part of the reason you feel overwhelmed and overworked. The #1 cost of a work-first culture? Stress. Hands down.
But it’s not your fault!
The American dream tells us to grow up, get a good job, and work hard. If we work hard enough, we’re told we’ll become a success. As a result, “US workers put in more hours on the job than the labor force of any other industrial nation,” writes The American Institute of Stress.
A work-first workplace measures employee success by workers who are:
- The first to arrive, last to leave, and available on vacation.
- In the office or online more (which puts seat time ahead of a focus on results).
- Super busy (which is a sign of being in demand, confident, and ambitious).
In a work-first culture, society’s norms dictate that work should be everyone’s first priority, creating massive struggle and conflict between work and family. Reasons employees make work the top priority are real and legitimate such as the basic needs of income and health insurance. Believe me, I get it.
But equally compelling reasons exist to dismantle our work-first culture and redesign work and family so you and your partner have fulfilling careers while raising a happy and healthy family. Enough time and energy for you and your family — all without sacrificing wellbeing or career success.
Lack of Power in a Work-First Culture
No doubt, managers are stuck between a rock and a hard place! Technology blurs the boundaries between work and home, leading to more work with fewer resources as your employer sees your availability as 24/7.
You’re working so hard, but maybe just not breaking through. You’re driven but seriously concerned about the “collateral damage — wrecked relationships, financial ruin, social ridicule, unbearable stress,” writes Brendon Burchard in High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way. What’s the point of working so hard, though, if you’ve driven yourself into the ground? It might be easier — and healthier — to limit your ambition and play smaller to reduce stress and anxiety, right? (No!)
The most challenging days make you feel powerless and hopeless that things will get better anytime soon. You can reclaim control of your work + life on your terms — not subject to an outdated model of work. “The single largest cause of burnout is a lack of personal control on the job — expected to be the ideal worker with no life and free to satisfy the boss’s every whim,” writes Brigid Schulte in Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.
Take Control of Your Work-First Culture
Start taking charge of your choices by redesigning work and family. How? Use these 10 skills to rebalance work + life on your terms.
2. Prioritize and Plan
3. Mange Energy
4. Build Strong Relationships with Reciprocity and Trust
5. Set Boundaries
6. Delegate with a Win-Win Perspective
7. Manage Expectations
8. Cultivate Personal and Professional Growth
9. Exercise Self-Discipline
10. Experiment, Assess, and Improve