Who Are You Working For?

September 30, 2011

Personal, Prof. Development

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.

One of these will make you shift your priorities!

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 healthsocial 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:

  • Blogging
  • Tweeting
  • 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?”

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About sradick

I'm Vice President, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (http://steveradick.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick

9 Responses to “Who Are You Working For?”

  1. Merks Says:

    Even though I thoroughly enjoy what I do (yes, even the endless meetings), I’ve always subscribed to the notion that I work so I can live. My life outside of work is so much more important to me than the work I do. This may not be a popular opinion, but I could be shoveling poop for the rest of my life and be happy doing it, if I love the people I work with…which I do (the people, not the poop shoveling). To me it’s important that I really enjoy the environment in which I work and that I get enjoyment from the people I interact with – otherwise what’s the point of leaving my kids with strangers for the better part of each day? 

  2. Alexandra Bornkessel Says:

    Steve–Great post and perspective! My husband and I have recently moved a bit farther from work and now I have two hours of my day commuting. It definitely makes “doing everything + more” a bit different. However, when it comes to deciding what to do when there’s that precious “spare” time if you call it that—family comes absolutely number one. You’re doing the right thing! You can’t be all things to all people. I’ve learned that accepting that, gives me more freedom and more time to make an impact where it matters. 

  3. Jacque Brown Myers Says:

    Amen! Also, too bad we can’t turn this into a “post cute pictures of your #gov20 babies” comment thread. Maybe I should send a note to DISQUS.

  4. Ari Herzog Says:

    If you’re getting bogged down with work and can’t find time, that’s where I can come in — working out of your Boston office, anyway — and help you be more productive.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    That’s so kind of you Ari :)  If only it were that easy!

  6. Ari Herzog Says:

    What’s hard about it? You tell your boss you need help with X and you know Ari who can help with X, boss works it with HR and the satellite office.

    It’s paperwork that would be hard but the rest is easy!

  7. medical coding training Says:

    Amazing post. You are a great blogger and enjoyed reading your blog a lot . bookmarked .
    Thanks

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for your email. I’ll be out of the office on vacation from Friday, October 14th through Monday, October 24th. During this time, I’ll very little access to either voicemail or email. While I’m out of the office, please consider reading my blog (www.steveradick.com) or following me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/sradick). In my absence, please reach to one of the following individuals:
    For questions about Booz Allen’s Digital Strategy & Social Media Practice, speaking opportunities, or my blog, please contact Tracy Johnson (johnson_tracy@bah.com) or Jacque Myers (myers_jacque@bah.com).
    I will respond to your email upon my return on Tuesday, October 25th.

    Steve Radick
    Lead Associate
    Booz Allen Hamilton
    Read my blog at http://www.steveradick.com Follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sradick.

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