I was reading a TechRepublic article “Everyone matters a little but not everyone matters a lot” in the IT Leadership section by Benny Sisko today with some interest. His main point was overcoming his desire to be liked by everyone around him. Some relationships matter more than others. To sum up, he had learned to prioritize those relationships, and he shared his reasoning behind the prioritization.
That doesn’t mean that every employee or every position in the company isn’t important, but rather that he couldn’t expect everyone to like or respect him. He gives the example of one peer who was quite difficult to get along with and how that created a lot of anxiety for him. Then, he realized that this person’s role wasn’t strategic, and he was just one voice at the table. So, instead of seeking him out for input, Benny decided to not ask him anymore. As a result, Benny’s stress went down. Benny moved on to example of an IT department he had to clean up. There were hard choices, and there were hurt feelings as a result. However, keeping the relationships on a professional level enabled the department to move forward.
I liked this article. It gives some good advice, and I hope you take the time to read it. However, all of the relationships were work related. That really got me to thinking about relationships in general. One day, should you live long enough, you will not have work relationships any longer. So, which relationships really matter in the long run?
I’ve always heard about balance between life and employment, and I think that is important. However, how do you balance your family and friends against unemployment? You see, it’s a funny thing that being laid off can result in less free time than you had before. Before, you worked. Now, your full time job is to look for work. You also have to set aside time to deal with the unemployment office itself. If you are technical, then it is likely these days you are realizing that you need certain skills you did not need before, so you need time to acquire other skills. If you are unemployed long enough, you’ll need time for credit counselors, mortgage companies, research web sites for programs for the unemployed and perhaps contact the VA. You will spend at least twice as long on your budget than you did before. All of these things can chip away at your time, and you may find yourself with less personal time than you had before. That means less time for friends and family.
So, how are you doing? Are you maintaining those relationships? If you are unemployed, you need them now more than ever. Even if you are not, one day you will stop working, and then what? Someday, you may even need long-term care, and who will you turn to? Who will you spend your time with?