“A rat race is a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit.”
I’m walking down the hallway. The flicker of florescent lights is burning my bloodshot eyes. It’s around 9:45 AM. I’m well over an hour late for work. I swing open the door and enter the main office. Our secretary looks up and gives me a smirk as she shakes her head from side to side.
I pour myself a big cup of water from the bubbler before entering my office. I begin re- hydrating my body when my supervisor, Bob, walks in.
“Late night?” he asks
“It’s almost 10 o’clock, you know?”
“Ummm, so can we try not to make this a habit?”
I let out a deep sigh. The truth is, I’ve been coming in late for the last several months. I always leave early and I often take extended lunch and coffee breaks. In a given day, I probably only do a solid 2 to 3 hours of actual office work.
“Is there anything that you need done right now?” I ask, avoiding his question
“Uhh, no, but…”
“Ok good, just let me know and we’ll take care of it right away” I say politely
“Uh, oh…uh, ok then” he says and exits the office
A year ago, this situation would have made me a nervous wreck. I would have woken up late, in a panic, call the office to say ‘I’m on my way’ and then apologize profusely when arriving, usually with some lame excuse like ‘I forgot to set my alarm clock’. Kind of pathetic really and not the type of work stress that anyone should have to worry about.
My attitude now is to focus on getting the job done and then do whatever I want. I stopped asking permission for days off. Instead I just tell my boss when I won’t be in. I don’t apologize for being late. I don’t worry about taking a 1.5 hour lunch break. I don’t care that I’m hungover from celebrating the Celtics win last night. My work gets completed and everyones happy.
It’s still not an ideal situation, but it’s better than most peoples’ and as close to a Results Only Work Environment that I’ll get. But the real victory will be when I walk into Bob’s office and hand him a two week notice.
So, I think the moral of this story is not to focus on winning or losing the rat race, but focus on escaping the rat race all together.