The other night my husband was stressed about a particular customer. I said to him to not freak out about it, and instead just know going in there that you will be able to finalize everything and walk away good. His response was something to the effect of “You always work at things like they’re so easy.”
It triggered me to think of something I had often thought about at my previous job. You do not have to be stressed to get shit done! Think about it – the last time you were rushing and freaked out about something, would the outcome have been any different if instead you were calm and collected? My guess would be no – it still would have gotten done, likely in the same amount of time, AND you wouldn’t be frazzled after it was completed!
In my previous job, this often got me into some trouble because of the perception bias around appearing “busy”. I equate appearing busy, to appearing stressed. In contrast, most of the time I was calm, cool and collected and got my work done. I repeat – MOST of the time. 😉 There were other employees who usually worked at a frantic pace and were visibly stressed. Now, which of the two would someone assume has more on their plate? Obviously, it would be (and was) perceived that the person in the latter scenario was busier. That was not the case. We just had different temperaments in dealing with our workload. It did, however, turn into insinuations that I was not pulling my weight.
I feel it is so important to bring this perception bias into light. Think about it – if appearing stressed and overwhelmed is viewed positively to management, what do you think that does to the office culture? It creates a culture where people thrive in being stressed and overwhelmed. It becomes the norm.
I want to create a new norm where working hard does not have to be stressful. Where we are able to calmly complete the work needing to be done and for that to be viewed in a positive light.
I will end with a quote by Simon Sinek:
“Without great environments, even great ideas are useless.”