Hierarchical systems invite people to live reactive lives. This creates personal costs. A friend who works in a federal agency did a self-audit and then shared his observations. The observations have implications for how we craft our own jobs.
Lately I have noticed how so much of my life has become reactionary. I react to assignments at work. Emails flow into my inbox without ceasing and I respond and respond and respond. On my commute, I react to the actions of other bikers and walkers. I react emotionally to news on the radio and online. I react to needs at home: dishes need doing, floors need sweeping, laundry needs folding, the list goes on.
During my recent vacation I reviewed my current life activities and I tried to see where I was being proactive. I noticed that my few proactive activities are the areas I love best. What’s funny is that in some of those activities (like my poems and songs), I have had no traditionally measurable success (i.e., no one has published them). Still, because I choose to dedicate time to those activities–and no one asked me to–I feel that ever elusive feeling of the “success” I seek.
- In your professional life, how many reactive activities do you engage in?
- Why are proactive activities so rewarding?
- Is it possible to craft your job so that there are more proactive activities?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?