Stop the work and make time for the people.

As the end of our fiscal year at work winds down, we’ve been putting in a lot of hours trying to get things wrapped up for the current year and get things moving for the start of 2014. That means spending every minute possible at my desk trying to crank away at the many projects we’ve got in the hopper.

Which is why, a couple weeks ago, I was a little irritated to receive a meeting invite for a last minute all agency meeting smack in the middle of the day.

See, everyone knew what the meeting was about. We had won a new piece of business and the pitch team was going to formally announce it to the rest of the agency. In my head, I kept thinking, “Why can’t they just send an email? Why do I have to take 30 minutes when I could be working on client work, just to sit in a conference room and be told something I already know?”

The minute I went to the meeting, though, I realized just how selfish I was being.

This is just a small subset of the awesome people I get to work with every day. Sometimes I need to stop myself for a quick attitude adjustment and remember – these folks are the reason I love my job.
This is just a small subset of the awesome people I get to work with every day. When I get too self-involved in the pressures of the job, I try to take a few moments and remember to be people-focused. After all, these folks are the reason I enjoy heading to work each day.

The meeting wasn’t really about the news at all. It was about the people. It was about recognizing the team that put in long hours to get a piece of business that would benefit us all. It was about giving new staff that had worked on the pitch the chance to share their contributions. It was about getting excited as an agency that we are getting to enter a new business segment and expand our expertise.

In other words, it wasn’t about the work at all. It was about the people.

How often do we get caught up in the work and forget about the people? Whether it’s client work, conquering the never-ending to-do list or meeting a big deadline, there’s always so much to do and so little time to do it. We’ve got our nose to the grindstone so often that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we have teammates at all levels who may need help, a listening ear or a little recognition. While it’s hard to stop what you’re doing (sometimes even for 5 minutes), remember that a good job is rarely about the work. Most times it’s about the people that you get to spend your days laughing, celebrating and overcoming challenges with.

So, next time you’re buried under a pile of paperwork, dig yourself out and take some time to be people-focused instead of work-focused. Play a game of pool, stop by somebody’s desk to check in on their weekend, or take a walk for some coffee, just to get a chance to build those relationships that are so vital to career happiness. If my change in attitude after that meeting was any indication, I think you’ll be glad you did.

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