Is Your Job More Important Than Your Life?

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From the title of this blog, you may have thoughts of someone coming to a store with a gun, walking up to the clerk and demanding all the money from the cash drawer.  No, that question doesn’t need to be answered.  Take the money; heck, take the drawer, the safe and anything else you want.  Now, this is not to dishonor the occasional hero who stands up to the bad guys.  It’s just that there are not many of us (myself included) who would put my job above my life.


But this blog isn’t about robbery or self-defense.  It’s about a different kind of regard for the importance of our “life” as opposed to the importance of being on the job.  With unemployment still above nine percent in many areas, you would think anyone with a job would give 110%.  But there is a new breed of workers who aren’t willing to sacrifice their life, or lifestyle, or what they want to do at the moment just to be on the job.  They are more interested in what’s going on at the moment than the responsibility of the job at hand.


Case in point.  A friend of mine works at a retail store.  It was a slow night, and there were two sales associates and a manager working that shift.  One of the younger associates got a call from her mother who was shopping at another retail store across town and told her daughter she “needed her.”  It was the middle of her shift, but at that moment, she was bored and would rather go off shopping with her mom.  It wasn’t clear why mom “needed her.”  Was she having a heart attack, or just couldn’t decide between the green or blue sweater?  The young associate put on her best pouty face, complete with fake sniffling, and pleaded to leave work to join her mother.  My friend, who was just as bored, was appalled when the manager bought the act and let her go.


The question that goes begging in all this is why did the young associate have her cell phone with her, took a call while on the sales floor (both violations of the store’s cell phone policy), and then thought it was OK to leave early?  Obviously, the job wasn’t as important as keeping her cell phone or what was going on in her life at the moment. 


Flexible schedules and work life balance are two big buzz words in employment these days. But when does the job take priority over what I want to do at the moment?  Last week I was checking out at the grocery store and the cashier had her cell phone sitting next to the register.  As I was checking out on the keypad, she was checking her emails and texting.  Forget about even the basics of greeting the customer.  Her latest text was more important than making me feel welcome.   Someone else must have noticed her lack of regard for the job, because I haven’t seen her behind the register again.   Following your every post or Tweet is rarely a job requirement.  You’ll have to decide whether putting your life temporarily on hold is worth keeping a job.  


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  • Chris Gofforth
    Chris Gofforth

    Nigel: I would have ( And do now ) say Sorry, I'm busy. If you cave in, they will expect more and more from you. I was told by one coworker that the 60-70 hour work week is now the norm, and you 'just do it'. Sorry, as the old saying goes, do you want written on your tome stone " Wish I worked longer at my desk"? But back to the articular, if you are working, work, and dont be rude.

  • Nigel A
    Nigel A
    Yes.Your job does have priority over yourt life. Example: I had promised my best friend that I would be there to help her recover from am operation. I had scheduled a key IT project to complete the weekend before, so there would be no conflict. Another department fouled up and I had to go in on the following Saturday to migrate the database to the new server, and was not there for my best freind as I had promised.RESULT: I met my business deadlline but lost my best friend. You have to be able to make the tough choices to stay in a job.
  • David D
    David D
    Employers are too Politically Correct these days.  Call your manager if you are at gunpoint.  If you are a firefighter, do your job. Save the building.  Risk your life.  That's what I was taught.  I personally don't care about being treated well as a customer.  Just at least act like you care.  If you make minimum wage, I'm not expecting you to fake act, just be yourself.

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