Earlier this morning, I posted this on Twitter “In higher education, presence is more important than contribution, effectiveness, efficiency.” The glorification of busy is rampant. The American “busy” rhetoric stems from fear. If we are busy, then we are productive and therefore, valuable. Neither of these things are true. But we keep doing it, don’t we? We post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn on and on and on. “Look at me!” “Look at me at this conference!” “Look at me presenting this workshop!” Look at me writing this blogpost!” (irony anyone?)
Busy doesn’t equal productivity. Busy is just spinning wheels. Busy is for others, about others. And our value comes from who we are and the unique gifts and talents we bring, not a fancy Excel spreadsheet or working til 8pm every night. We need a workplace shift, a recognition and reward shift to productivity, accountability, impact, and efficacy. I bet that if we were judged on those things, then employee engagement and loyalty will increase. I want to be judged for the good that I produce, my outcomes, the things I create, the programs I make better, the relationships that I nurture. I do not want to be judged on how frazzled I look while trying to push paper.
I want to know what my employer believes and then I want to believe what my employer believes.
“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.” – Simon Sinek
I would suggest that this really is what most people are looking for. As humans, we are social creatures. We were designed to belong- to a cause, purpose, another person, a family, a group. We need each other. We are hungry to feel that we belong. Each of us has a sign around our necks that says “See me. Believe in me.” What are we doing to really honor this in ourselves, our colleagues, students?
What would happen to busy if we started working for belief, rather than a job/money? Of course, I need this job (kids, mortgage, retirement) and some of the time I enjoy it. But what would happen if instead of presence, just taking up space, I was compensated/recognized/rewarded for my impact? What if, in higher education we started rewarding efficiency and efficacy, rather than presence? I know for me, I would start giving my blood, sweat, and tears and not just my time.