What are you working on right now? Can you explain exactly why you’re working on it?
Do you know why you’re spending time writing that blog post? Sitting in that meeting? Answering that email? Preparing that presentation? Do you have an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish? Do you have a strategy for what you’re working on?
Who are you working for right now? Your boss? Your company? Your family? Yourself? Do you even know?
Over the last six months or so, I’ve found myself asking this question of myself more and more. Four years ago when I first started our Digital Strategy and Social Media practice here, I had a seemingly unlimited amount of time – I had no problem with putting in a 9-5 day followed by a 5-9 night. I could do everything my boss asked of me as well as everything that I wanted to do. I could start this blog even though my boss at the time didn’t see the value in it. I could go out and spend my evenings attending Gov 2.0 and social media events even though no one was telling me to. I could work on a proposal throughout the weekend. I could create presentations and accept speaking gigs because I felt it was important to do.
But things change. Since then, I’ve had my first daughter (Hi Annabelle!), social media has become more and more integrated into our business, and some of my most talented team members have been promoted into positions with more responsibilities. We now have experts at using social media behind the firewall, social media and health, social media and design, social media and privacy, social media and the DoD, social media and emergency communications, and so on and so on. Each of these individuals has become the “go-to” person for questions and needs in each of their respective areas. While that’s great for them and for the organization as a whole, it has also limited the amount of time they can dedicate to the things that I want us to accomplish as a group. They have to respond to their project managers, to their husbands and wives, to their teams and to me. There just isn’t as much time to go around to do all of the things that we want to do.
As these changes have taken place, I’ve found myself doing less of the work that I’ve wanted to do:
- Attending Gov 2.0 happy hours
- Speaking at external events
And doing more of the things that my managers and my company want me to do:
- Meeting with senior leaders throughout the firm to discuss strategy
- Reviewing our various project team’s social media efforts and ensuring quality control
- Participating in client meetings
- Writing performance assessments
And of course, doing more of the things that my family wants me to do:
- Turning off my computer until the kidlet goes to bed
- Spending more time on the weekends with my wife and daughter
- Making more trips to visit family and friends
As your career and your life evolve, your priorities and work have to change with it. It took me a while to really understand and accept this – I just can’t do everything that my boss, my family, and I want to do anymore. There’s just not enough time in the day to do it all. That’s why before I sit through that fourth conference call of the day or drive downtown for that event, I’ll ask myself, “who I am working for right now?”