Thursday, August 05, 2004

Doing nothing is tiring

I'm in the odd situation of being employed - and paid what, to me, is big money - but having not too much to do. There are odd spurts of work, but they're usually over pretty fast.

And here's the surprising thing - I hate it! I feel guilty, and demotivated. Especially because everyone around me is pretty busy - I feel out of place and disconnected.

I know it won't last long as the writer I'll be replacing goes on maternity leave the week after next. I'm sure I'll be rushed off my feet then. But it sure is interesting to note my feelings - that it isn't that good to get paid to do nothing.

At the Parnell Rose Gardens in Auckland, there's a plaque which says, "The Joy of the Soul is in Doing". When I first read that, I didn't like it. It seemed old fashioned and fussy, and anti-relaxation.

Now, I understand the words of that fussy old lady written on that plaque. That's why people create gardens, write books, join committees. It's great to be doing something.

Lessons for leaders - apart from the obvious logistical ones! - include the need to get people excited about what they're doing. Somehow. How does that happen?

Looking at myself as an employee, I know I feel best about my work when I know the whole picture within which I'm working, but when I also know I'm supported and backed up. Perhaps there's a key there.


At 11:03 pm, Blogger Simon said...

Me again. Just wanted to clarify - this is not a criticism of my current employer. It's nigh on impossible to make sure someone is busy all the time. Unless it's factory work, I guess. Not that there's anything wrong with factory work. I'd best shut up now.

At 3:38 pm, Blogger Borscht said...

No Simon, I quite understood it correctly the first time. Steven Covey spoke about this in '7 Habits...' -- he described a situation where men he'd seen during the Depression were walking around unemployed. They looked as if they'd had the literal soul yanked right out of 'em. But, then, when given sth constructive to do, their ENTIRE DEMEANOUR changed, and their outlooked become much brighter. All this to of a constructive variety makes a person whole. Now...what was it about those turn of the century Southern US writers? Must have been something in the water -- ditto for Tom Stanley -- I mean -- bottle some of that and filter it five times, and send it to me by the case!


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