I remember that night when I met Ralph for a drink after work. Well, it was after work for me. He told me that he would be returning to the office to finish up a few things, this job was super intense, he said.
He described what it had been like over those last few months. He was working until 10 pm every evening and most of his weekends involved ‘catching up’ or getting prepared for the week to come.
I said, you know it’s no life. You’ll burn out. But he insisted that it was just that time of year, a crunch period and he quite liked the work. He’d be back to normal soon.
Over a decade later and Ralph had moved through several jobs. It was always the same. He was always the last person to leave at night, the first to show up in the morning. He was always working on the high powered project that needed immediate results. It was always crunch time.
He looked much the same. A little haggard but quite cheerful. We caught up on the changes that the decade had brought us in our professional and personal lives. His career was going well but he said he’d had enough of the corporate game. He was exhausted. Tired of the crazy hours. He was ready to go out on his own.
Five years later Ralph ran a small yet strong consulting business. He still loves what he does and is clearly very good at it. And he still works crazy hours. He is first into the office in the morning. He rarely leaves before 10 pm.
And he was still complaining about it.
You love it you know, I said to him. He looked surprised. No, really I don’t he insisted.
I pointed out that this is what he had created in every job, every company and now even in his own business throughout the two decades that I’d known him.
He started to smile. Yes, I guess I have. It had never occurred to him that boundaries and personal goals were up to him to develop. He would always create the conditions under which he worked. It was an obvious yet shocking awareness.
We get what we create and what we tolerate.
Is there a part of your work or life conditions that are not ideal. What story are you telling that prevents you from taking action to change it? What are you tolerating and actually making possible?
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sending more stories and examples of how our story creates our reality and what you can do about it.
Meantime, leave a comment and share.