Imagine having your boss greet you in the morning with: “Don’t try too hard to get things done today.”
What would you think of your boss? What would you think of your place of employment?
If you heard that someone else’s boss greeted them with that, what would you think of their boss? What would you think of their place of employment?
I think of city road maintenance crews. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how their bosses greet them every morning. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a road maintenance crew try too hard to get things done. And everyone knows (right?) that government agencies have to use up their full budget by the end of the year in order to get a full budget for the next – so it’s in a government boss’s interest to waste money.
Certainly, I never heard that from my bosses when I worked in the private sector.
But, honestly, I’ve never heard that from my public sector bosses either.
Bosses are interested in getting value out of their employees. They want their employees to work hard and get things done.
Sure, some bosses are better at motivating their employees to work hard and to accomplish things – but no employer would go so far as to tell their employees not to try too hard to get things done.
Except my boss right now.
My husband is not interested in getting as much hard work out of me as possible. That isn’t his goal for our home.
I’m not at home so I can be hyperproductive, so our home can be immaculate, so I can finish a to-do list a mile long. I’m not at home so my husband can arrive home to a harried, exhausted wife who is frustrated with not meeting her expectations of the ideal housewife. I’m not at home to be frustrated at our daughter for keeping me from completing my to-do list.
I’m not a homemaker so I can “get things done.”
Does that mean my husband was encouraging me to lie in bed all day long, to not rinse and wash the diapers, to not make him dinner, to not tidy the house? No. He was not encouraging me to idleness.
No, he was encouraging me to have perspective.
Because trying too hard to get things done makes me worse, not better, at my job.
It makes me impatient and unresponsive as a mother. It makes me frustrated and unhelpful as a wife. It makes our home a place of chaotic frenzy instead of peaceful rest.
Right now, I am called to fulfill a role (or several roles), not merely to complete tasks.
Which means I need to listen to my boss when he tells me not to try too hard to get things done. I need to stop and consider what is really important.