Continued Confessions of a Workaholic: Redefining Work

Some of you may have read the article I posted last year about my first true vacation with my wife in 12 years. We took our 3-year old son to Paris and had an amazing time. During the trip, I tried to disconnect from work as much as possible, yet I did find myself putting in a few hours each day to keep up with projects.

At the time I was slightly conflicted. On one hand, I was in Paris! This meant I wanted to get the most out of my vacation. On the other hand, my son takes a nap every day, and I could easily keep up with work during those few hours each afternoon. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with no meetings, phone calls, text messages, or emails because of the time-zone difference.

Well, I have another confession . . . I just returned from another vacation. Yes, two vacations in less than six months. I have no idea what’s happening to me :)

This time, we headed to Seattle. My wife works with Microsoft and had training to attend while I grew up outside the city and wanted to show our son my favorite spots from when I was a child. Again, the conflict of work came up, and this time it was even more of a struggle.

Let's Rewind

Before we go on, let’s look at a little context. Last week, BizLatte launched! Our mission is to help millennials advance their career. I am part of the co-founding team and we spent months working on our strategy, services, website, and more. All with the goal of launching on Jan 30th, 2017. We hit our mark and two days later I was on a plane for a short vacation.

Who does that?

Seriously, have you ever heard of someone starting a business and then jumping on a plane for vacation? I know I haven’t, but something about it felt right. I was able to show my son the best Seattle has to offer and we enjoyed our short stay in the Emerald City.

Moreover, I was able to stay in touch with the BizLatte team and even secured our first business consulting contract while away. I didn’t even tell most people I was going on a trip which brought up some interesting moments.

  • For my first business, Elisha Consulting, I helped finalize production of a commercial from my phone while at the Pacific Science Center as my son was running around.
  • I shot a VLOG from the 73rd story of an observation tower overlooking the Space Needle while again . . . my son was running around.
  • During the long flight there and back, I was able to put together some articles and work on a major project for one of my clients.
  • The BizLatte team secured a few speaking engagements while I was away and our marketing strategy never missed a beat.

I came to the realization that it is perfectly fine to redefine work. In fact, as a millennial, I should be redefining what work looks like.

Redefine Your Career

Articles about millennials are fascinating. I have read constant posts on how an entire generation is entitled, lazy, and disloyal. Those buzzwords make for a nice clickbait title, but do they really portray millennials correctly?

Millennials (those aged 18-34) work on average 45 hours a week in the United States (Forbes). These are the people who answer emails at all hours of the night and have come to the realization, there is no such thing as a 40-hour work week.

For us, it’s a myth which may or may not have existed. We don’t know as we have never experienced such a week.

You likely do know some lazy millennials, yet we could say that about any generation. The outliers normally stick out. When it comes to the majority of millennials, they are actually hard working and spend many hours on the job.

Not only are they hard working, but they are performing for less than previous generations. For a variety of reasons, millennials are earning “20% less than Boomers did at the same stage of life” (USA Today). This means young people are working diligently while making less. 

What should we do?

The answer is to redefine your career. Millennials are changing the workplace. Rather than staying with one company for decades and working toward a linear path, they want to be purposeful, desire flexible work schedules, and seek consistent coaching and feedback (Forbes). In short, they do not work like previous generations.

This is fine and should be celebrated. If the above paragraph speaks to you, then you should start to realize there are many options to redefine what work looks like for you.

  • Remote work is continuing to rise with 37% of people reporting of telecommuting at least occasionally (Gallup).
  • Entrepreneurship has never been easier as you can start a business with a simple idea and internet access.
  • Then practically, older generations are aging out of companies which will leave a vacuum of needed leaders, be one of those leaders.

The point is you have the ability to change how you view work. There are times where I feel awkward working from home or a coffee shop, taking an afternoon off, or blocking off a morning to have breakfast with my son at a doughnut shop.

But why?

I don’t hesitate to work 7-days a week while responding to clients in the early morning and late at night. It’s not like those times away from work negatively impact the quality of my work and I am always on time with projects.

Redefining work and transforming how I view my career is another step in my professional development. One I am looking forward to, especially, if I can go on more vacations even if that means working from cities across the world.

What About You?

Recently, I was going through the BizLatte coaching process with a client and asked some big questions. These were questions she had never thought about.

Specifically, I asked how she could align her passions with her desired career. Most people view the two as separate. Why? Our work is such a huge part of our adult life in regards to hours in a day and what we think about. We should all desire to have our passions be central in our career.

That could mean pairing technology with a cause you care about, starting a business, being an example of a true leader at a large corporation, working with a non-profit, or something which nobody has ever seen before.

One of the tragedies of the modern world is following a definition for your life which you never desired. You have the full capability of redefining work and having it match your purpose in life. All it takes is some strategy, time, and action.

If you are ready to redefine your career and need a little help. Connect with us for a free 30-minute coaching session, we can get you on the right path to a purposeful professional life.

Matt Avery