The difference between being judgmental and caring can be the benefit of the doubt. Living in Los Angeles I got to learn a lot about people not giving two craps whether you were alive or dead. Unless of course you started to smell the place up. Living in Minneapolis I got to learn a lot about people being a little too much in my business. But then I realized that it’s OK to be in my business, as it keeps apathy at bay and helps make me a better person, provided it doesn’t come with a bit too much judgement. When no one cares, what drives you to be better other than your own desire to be, well, better. Which can be fleeting.
But that’s at home. At work, I’ve started to realize the various stages of my own judgement and don’t always look back on my actions (or judgment of others more to the point) too kindly. There was a time when I worked more 100 hour weeks than 50 hour weeks. I’ve never actually worked less than 50. There was a time when I expected everyone to work the same as me. I expected them to be in the office for a dozen hours a day and to stay focused the whole time. I can’t even do that any more. Having said that, I’ll put my 9-10 hours a day (often including weekends) against anyone else’s 16 hour days. Focus with age, or so I keep telling myself. It’s not about working more, it’s about working smarter. And you don’t want to work faster, because the quality of your work starts to decrease.
I also stopped judging how much others work because I started to realize I don’t see all of their work. On the Tuesday after Labor Day, I left the office at 4. But in order to meet some crazy deadlines I worked 30-40 hours that weekend. If anyone noticed me leaving at 4, they likely didn’t know that. But no one cares because they’re all too busy worrying about their side of the street. In short, who cares about working faster and more hours. More hours are just for show. For being a martyr. For burning out.
When I was younger, I didn’t realize that it was more important to work smarter. I thought if others saw me burning the midnight oil that they would be inspired. I also didn’t realize what things were like when you had kids or in general, when you have a life outside of work. Now, I reserve my judgement for the output over a longer duration of time over when I can see your mug in the office. And when the Apple Emoji for Poo hits the fan, I’m still there, and less distracted when needed – as the people around me are more understanding when I’m home more.
You see, with our personal lives bleeding into our professional time and our professional lives bleeding into our personal time, we start to realize that the barriers between home and work are more and more grey. We learn (hopefully you’re here) that we must disengage from the computer when our family and friends try to talk to us (I have to close my laptops). We learn that if you try to find a home-life balance that we end up setting the two to be in diametric opposition. Instead, maybe just maybe we learn how to let them coexist.