Success, Time Management, Hard Work, Long Hours – do they belong together?

Time management is more than just watching where your time goes and scheduling what time you have during your waking hoursIt’s also about being conscious of your worldSuccess, for instance, is not a direct route.

I’ve been amazed by the contradictions in our society especially about success and achievement.  Getting ahead, we are told, is based on working hard and working long – we hear it all the time – work hard, work hard, work hard. 

Yet, evidence in our society does not support that notion, especially over the last 10 years when people are getting fired and laid off at dizzying rates while executives are raking in millions of dollars in bonuses, perks, and ridiculous salaries.  Do you not think out of the thousands of people laid off, at least some of them worked really hard, had goals, succeeded at some level?  And tons of people work hard and often long hours but are no further ahead than when they started their jobs or careers years before – they are still in the same job still working as hard as ever.   Why is that?  Is it their fault?  Did they not have goals? 

We are led to believe that hard work and working long hours are the only criteria to success on the job.  The underlying notion accompanying that belief is that  life is fair.  If you work long and hard twoards your goals, you will get rewarded.  It simply doesn’t happen that way for thousands of people.  For some it does and those are the ones you hear about – but you don’t hear about the thousands and thousands of people who had dreams, who got the education or training they required, who had goals and who worked hard and long but something stopped them cold in their tracks somewhere along the line.

Eventually, we learn – sometimes sooner than later – that life is not fair and achieving success doesn’t quite work in that kind of linear way.  There are many more factors in life on the road to success or something else than just that just working hard and getting the reward/   We all would like it to be that way – it just isn’t. 

Today, I saw an episode on Holmes on Homes – a crusader in the home construction industry who believes that all contractors should be doing their jobs well and that the regulating bodies should also be regulating better and more stringently.  Why would we need Holmes if everyone were doing their jobs as they should?  We wouldn’t. 

Here the clincher:  Ask any of these people if they are working hard – they’ll all tell you that they are.  So, again, think about it – if all the contracting and the regulating bodies people are working hard and doing what they are suppose to be doing, why would home owners need to call Holmes to get their problems fixed?  Does hard work mean success?  Are hard work and success perceptions only?  illusions? 

Yes, they all get paid for doing a poor job so perhaps that’s a measure of success – the money and, in the case of government people, a pension and benefits, but how are we defining success in that case?  Pretty shallow isn’t it that a lot of people think by showing up they are successful and hard working when the clients are left high and dry!  In this particular case, the homeowners couldn’t get steady heat in all parts of their brand new home.  They spent 2 years talking to the contractor and to every government regulating agency they could.  They spent even more money.  They documented everything.  They tried every single thing they could and they estimated that they had spent the equivalent of 2 days a week for 2 years trying to solve the heating problem in their new home!  Did they work hard?  You bet.  Did they get rewarded?  No.  Not until they met Holmes.  How many other homeowners have worked hard for their money, hard to resolve their issues and are not able to find someone like Holmes to help them out?

 Also, how many times have you and I heard stories of  or seen people who worked very hard and very successfully but were passed over for promotion – they dedicated their lives to their job and their company.  The job was given to someone who was a lot less qualified and who others thought could not fill the job and yet the “boss” promoted them.  And that’s how it turned out – the person promoted wasn’t qualified and  didn’t do a good job but  now sat in a place where they had an impact on other people’s success on the job! 

Think about how many times good people got laid off or fired just because someone didn’t like them.  A man I know worked many years for a fast food company – his hours were long and he worked very hard.  Year and year he was rewarded with bonuses and promotions and . . . one day . . . a new boss.  Right from day one, she didn’t like him for whatever reason.  She picked on him at every opportunity.  Other people in the company tried to talk to her about his great personality, his credentials and what he meant to the company.  She fired him.  That simple.  A whole career up in smoke because one person didn’t like him.  Is it because he didn’t work hard?  Not according to his colleagues and not according to the franchisees for whom he was responsible.  In fact, a couple of franchisees hired him immediately to help them expand their businesses.  Did his hard work bring about success?  Yes and no. 

He wanted to stay with that company for his whole life – he didn’t want to change – he was happy there and his goals were based on that dream.  It’s great he got some contracts from franchisees but it’s not what he wanted nor what he was planning for himself – his goals, his ambitions, his way to live his life on his terms.  Someone can take that away from you in a second!  Success was his for a while but it took just one person to turn his world upside down.  And upside down it was!  To him, it was a failure.   Others would have said it was a successful life.  Success performing his job and success getting hired as a consultant immediately thereafter.  Not to him.  He lost his job.

Or you can work hard all your life and bingo, cancer hits or some other disease.  Is that fair?  Is that your reward? Success and time management are not always in your control in the external parts of your life. 

In conclusion, hard work and long hours might produce the desired results – perhaps – but to rely on that solely is a fantasy at best.  In reality, being conscious about what is around you, managing your time to fit the situation and aiming for your success on a whole different basis is more appropriate.  Forget the hard work and long hours – instead work well, balance your life and keep time managment as a tool to help you achieve your desires and dreams.

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