Working Hard v Hard Work

Are you there Bree? It’s me, work.

Side note. I never did well at history in school so I’m not going to give you a history lesson here, but I will preface this post with a step back in time.

The Industrial Revolution was the transition from hand production methods to machine, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system between 1760s to 1840s.

Naturally, this brought about an emphasis on quantity and output.

Ok, let’s fast forward to 2017. We’re no longer in the Industrial Age but the Digital Age.

What we’re doing for work has changed but how we’re doing it hasn’t. Our KPIs are increasing, we’re working longer hours and we’re burning out at a faster rate. Technology has become our best friend and worst enemy, we can work remotely but it also brings an expectation to be available 24/7.

We all know burnout (psychological and physical) is a massive problem. It impacts not only the business someone is working for but the health system and at a greater scale, the economy.

Many articles and posts (including one of my own) talk about steps an individual can take to avoid burnout or be more proactive, however that is only one part of the problem, the second comes from managers and leaders taking action and the third which is less talked about is society its expectations.

Let’s stop measuring ‘hard work’ the same way. Let’s start measuring outcome instead of output and quality instead of quantity.

Martyrdom should not be glorified and this is something I feel very strongly about. Working hard should be your willingness to show up and keep showing up and your resilience. And finally, taking a break is not a sign of weakness, we all need rest.

On the back of this, today is R U OK Day, don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid to answer. It’s ok to not be ok and it’s ok to be vulnerable.

Let’s start some conversations.