The other day I was talking to somebody and asked this question; When did we start worrying about KPIs and work?
Thinking about my grandmother who worked in a textile factory for 42 years or other older people with full-time jobs I realised I had never heard them talking about work. They never mentioned performance, or reviews, and never complained about managers and supervisors.
The most I heard was her bitching about her colleagues:-)
They were so good at leaving the job behind upon clocking out. Why? What was different?
Today, you go out with your friends and all they do is talk about work. They go home and continue working at home after hours. I know a person who gave birth and the same afternoon was on a call talking to her team about a rollout program. What bothered me most was her enthusiasm and pride in telling us this story. I listened and said nothing but thought to myself "You are not normal love."
Nothing in life is supposed to swallow you up completely. Certainly, work is not supposed to swallow you up. I don't know what is the difference between our grandmothers and us but I know one thing that may contribute to this misery.
The empty lives we live. We shed responsibilities and we have nothing left to deal with but work. All the singletons out there living the lives of Peter Pan (men and women). They thought a single life would be easier but it is not. Nothing is easy in life everything has its bill attached to it.
Our parents and grandparents had millions of things going on and they switched roles daily. From parents to spouses, to colleagues, to neighbours (I don't even know my neighbours), to a boss or to being a child to their elderly parents and looking after them.
They didn't live in a unidimensional world. I know you would say, "Yes but I do a lot of other things instead." Really? Like what? Travelling, going to the gym, getting pissed with your friends, watching Netflix or having a hobby. These should be in addition to familial responsibilities not instead and then, we would all realise that work is not important. It is a means to an end and we don't have to stay awake at night doing presentations and saying "Yes, but I am enjoying it."
Yes, you do, but you enjoy it because you are bored and it is better to be busy than bored.
So, if we want a healthier workplace we should be encouraging people to spend more time outside of work and build lives, not careers.