Check your own time management before complaining about co-workers

I always loved working in an office. I appreciated having a desk and a computer – a space I could call home base.

For me, who largely retired from my print and broadcast career two years ago this week, coincidentally, I look back at my time working for others and the different workplace dynamics I encountered.

I met one of my radio producers at a publishing company nearly 20 years ago. I stole her away when I started my own media company a few years later.

Today, she told me about the challenges her teenage grandson is facing at his first job and how he felt overworked. Her attitude, at least when talking to me, was he needs to suck it up and deal with the responsibilities of having a job.

We discussed the different personalities of our former co-workers and laughed at how there was always someone who complained about being overworked (and underpaid, of course) yet never really seemed to be doing anything.

One of my pet peeves as an employer has always been the focus a worker has on his or her cellphone. In the early days, when it was just me working from my house, I hired a summer student to help sell advertising for my radio shows. His role was simple: sit on my couch, use my laptop and contact marketing departments to land radio commercials.

At the time, social media wasn’t a distraction, however texting was. I was in my office and not more than 10 minutes after he showed up and got the rundown of the job, I went into the living room and he was already texting with his girlfriend. Ten minutes into his first day. Ten minutes. First day.

I made it clear that as a start-up, I barely had the money to pay myself, let alone the $10 per hour I was giving him. After that gentle smackdown, he checked out. His breaking point was being told that his girlfriend’s texts weren’t more important than his job. He quit on his third day.

On the weekend, I had a conversation with my cousin who vented about her co-workers not picking up the slack and essentially pushing more work on her. She, too, did the “overworked” and “not my job” complaints, so when she mentioned texting with our other cousin earlier in the day, I had to point that out.

“How do you have time to text if you’ve got so much work?” She was quick to say it was on her break. (Really? We know people in office jobs aren’t waiting for a break to be on their phone.)

So, it’s interesting how the common kvetch is, “I have so much to do, I’m the busiest person ever, nobody does as much as I” but, people, get serious. If you make time for your phone during your so-called busy workday, perhaps your issue is lack of focus and inefficient time management.

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