The people on the edge of the night
It is 7.10am and I’m sat in the office writing this. I set off from home about two hours ago to get here. I was working last night until about 10pm. I’m ok with it, it doesn’t happen too often and when it does, well that goes with the territory. On the flip side I get to slope off for school plays, sports days etc. Quid pro quo right?
Most days I work about 12 hours (although if you take the occasional tweet and blog post some would argue it works out about 3!) I’m not required to, I just want to do a good job. When things are busy then of course you need to put the extra effort in. It goes without saying and I am privileged to have the job that I do with the company that I do. I am also lucky that people aren’t judging me by the hours that I put in.
Compare and contrast with Tony Hayward. Remember him? The evil guy….the one that you booed and hissed at when ever he came on the TV. The pantomime villan of the BP oil disaster. Well you know what, I have a lot of sympathy for the guy and I don’t care who hears it. Sure the situation in the Gulf of Mexico was bad, but it wasn’t his fault. He was only human. The two things that really stuck out for me were the comment, “I want my life back” and the images of him sailing a yacht whilst the leak was still ongoing.
Because he is not allowed a private life is he? Because I mean, he is evil right and therefore beyond human needs. I won’t go back and dissect the whole oil spill saga. I wrote about it at the time and the fact that it was driven by human greed and consumerism as well as by BP. Suffice to say that the enquiry into the spill has said that there is absolutely no evidence that health and safety was traded off for cost savings.
But I will say this. Wanting your life back when it is being all consumed by work is not a wrong emotion. As fellow human beings we should have been sympathising with him as well as everyone else affected. Stress and pressure can hit you regardless of the role that you play in the organisation as Glyn Lumley wrote about this week. And as for the yacht….well he was seeing his son (who was racing) and whom he hadn’t seen for three months. And by US time it was from midnight to 6am. Terrible eh?
So next time you see someone under pressure and working long and ridiculous hours – even if they are senior, even if they are your boss – have a little sympathy, extend a little empathy and don’t be quick to blame them for something that has or hasn’t happened.
Everyone has the right to a private life, everyone has the right to work life balance. Even the big guys at the top.