- Lauren Widrick
Stop Being Your Company's Bitch
I see it at all levels, from executives to individual contributors: People whose lives are not their own. People whose companies have them on a frighteningly short leash.
Smart people who have become their company’s bitch.
Yes, I’m talking to you, who prides yourself on “hard work” and “being down in the trenches.”
Be honest with yourself. Who’s holding the leash here?
How to know if you are your company’s bitch:
You have zero white space on your calendar. Other people have decided where you spend your time (in their meetings) and you’re booked 8:00 – 5:00 and beyond.
You’re constantly getting work, projects, and fire drills heaped on your plate because you’re the “go-to” person (bitch) to get it handled.
Your direct reports, boss, and clients are blowing you up all day long.
You’re constantly thinking about work, even at home. They literally own your mental real estate.
People e-mail you at 8:00 PM, and actually expect a response.
Don’t you see that your company owns you? Owns your time, dictates your every move, and hijacks your life? How the hell did we get here? More importantly, how do you break free?
I broke free of this life from 2016 to 2018 when I launched my coaching business as a Side Hustle. But…there’s NO WAY I could have made it work if I remained my company’s bitch.
Here’s what I learned:
THE 60 HOUR WORKWEEK IS BULLSHIT
I used to work 60-hour weeks. I once bragged about that fact when vying for a promotion. I pitched my boss on what a hard worker I was by dedicating 60+ hours a week to the job. You know what he said?
“Why the hell is it taking you 60 hours to do a job that should take 40? Sounds like the job you have today is about 50% too big for you…why would I give you a bigger one?”
Working 60 hours a week doesn’t mean you are great at your job. It means you’re too slow at getting all your work done. Get better. Work faster. Cut the crap.
First, cut all the meetings. Eight hours of meetings a day is nonsensical.
Do not attend a meeting unless you are doing one of these three things: Selling, Coaching, or Decision Making.
Eliminate 100% of status meetings. They are bullshit. Status is a one-way communication that should be done in e-mail, period. Slash at least half your meetings and get your sanity back.
PS: Never, ever cancel your 1:1’s with your direct reports. If you handle those well, they are fully empowered and you won’t have to attend any of their meetings all week long.
RE-TRAIN THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU
Why are people booking every ounce of white space on your calendar? Because they somehow got the idea they were allowed to. How did that happen? YOU. You trained them to believe you’d accept that meeting. Just like you trained them to e-mail you at 9:00 PM because you’d likely respond.
Retrain them immediately.
If your boss is constantly asking for updates, tell her you’ll e-mail status every morning at 9:00 AM so she never has to ask. If people are booking meetings on your calendar, don’t accept before asking, “What do you need from me in this meeting? Coaching or Decision Making?” If your team is blowing you up with questions all day, form a daily standup to crush them all at once. Tell everyone around you that you batch your e-mail responses twice per day.
Basically…YOU tell everyone how it goes around here, not the other way around.
STOP GIVING SO MANY F*CKS
You know why your company owns you? You give way too many f*cks. You are stressing yourself out about stuff that doesn’t matter.
You get totally whipped into a frenzy about things that won’t matter a week from now. There was a fire drill at work? Your boss yelled at you? You were asked to do a bullshit report that nobody will read?
Who cares. You are spending more time worrying about it then just handling it.
This section is inspired by the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. I’m paraphrasing in my own words here, but this is my takeaway:
Giving less f*cks is not about apathy. It’s not slacking off or screwing your company over. It’s about reserving your f*cks for what actually matters and mentally letting the rest go.
You know what’s worth your f*cks? Your people. Your clients. Your goals.
You know what isn’t? That stupid status report you have to fill out. That thing Sallie said about Jeff in the hall. Having to enter your data in Salesforce. Yes, it sucks…but it doesn’t deserve your mental real estate.
TAKE ALL YOUR EGGS OUT OF ONE BASKET
The real reason you are so stressed about work: You are secretly afraid of getting fired. Why else would you sacrifice your sanity, health, family, and best years of your life? Do whatever it takes to remove this fear.
Interview for other jobs – constantly. Start your Side Hustle and do what you actually freakin’ want to do with your life. Prove to yourself that you would be FINE without this job. That’s the moment you’ll stop stressing and find your swagger.
SO many of my Side Hustle clients get promoted as soon as they launch their business. It’s because they are passionate again, and not so desperately attached to their day jobs…which makes them perform better.
The way of operating I’ve described in this article is BETTER for your company. You’re not screwing them over. You’re showing up swift, decisive, focused, clear, and cutting the shit that doesn’t add value. It's actually a massive win-win.
You want to start a business but fear you “can’t” because you’re too busy?
Stop being your company’s bitch. That will free up the time and energy you need.
Let’s Talk. I’ll show you how.