There is no rewind, make today count!

In the post-pandemic area several of my clients are finding it more difficult to get employees in the door, and that puts pressure on the current employees who must “tow the load.”  The Boss is having to ask his employees to work longer hours and to work at multiple jobs due to the open positions.  

Recently, I received a call from The Boss.  He is a young entrepreneur with small children and a newborn at home.  He called to vent regarding the long hours and the lack of people to do the work.  This Boss had been working too many hours, not getting enough sleep, and missing quality time with this family.  The Boss was asking his family to pick up the slack at home because he was exhausted from working all those hours.  He was also feeling guilty because of this family situation and that also played poorly on The Boss’s demeanor.    

I asked The Boss what he would do if he could go home right now, lock the doors, and leave.  He said he would buy his wife some flowers and go home, hold his newborn, and take his wife to dinner.  I said, “Do it!”  I don’t mean every day, but when the frustration peaks, you need to disengage and reset your priorities.  The Boss said he could not because there was too much work to be done.  I asked The Boss whose time was he stealing?  He just looked at me puzzled.  I said I thought he was stealing time from his family.  He was putting his employees, his customers, and the company ahead of his family.  I said, as I see it your family is fourth on your list.  He said he never thought of it that way.

I told The Boss I made that very mistake early in my career and at my stage in life today, I wish I could rewind the past and do it over.  Early in my career, I worked for a national company that was considered a “silver bullet” in the industry.  I thought this was a company where I could build a career and retire from someday.  I committed myself to the organization, taking every opportunity for advancement.  Often borrowing time from my family and dedicating it to the company.  At the time, I thought this was the way to reach my career goal, but what I did not consider was the “life balance” between work and home.  The long and short of it, the company experienced a huge embezzlement at corporate headquarters that took the company down!  Once discovered, in a matter of days all employees were out of a job, me included.  What I learned from that experience was, after all the dust settled, my family was where I drew my support.  They were “my rock!”  The time lost with my family was too great and the rewards I expected for spending the extra time in the business were not there.  

The Boss said, “But isn’t that what we are supposed to do?  As owners, aren’t we supposed to get things done so we can make payroll and cash flow?”  I said, of course, but at what expense?  There is no rewind!  We cannot go back and rewind the past and play it again.  All of us, including The Boss, have one chance at today.  The Boss must schedule a “zero day” occasionally, to balance out the longer days and stress that come with being The Boss.

Employees will come and go, customers will come and go, your business may run forever or someday shut down, but your family will always be there if you put them first.  Like The Boss, we are business owners because we are hard drivers and problem solvers.  Step back, look around you and find a way to manage your day-to-day life balance, get done what must get done, all while continuing to support your family.

I’m not saying the entrepreneurial lifestyle is easy, but like The Boss in this example, he is a problem solver so together with his key staff members, they set out to focus on a solution to the production challenges, (i.e., his work balance challenges).  This is hard work, but I am confident The Boss will find a sustainable solution.  There is no rewind, you will not have a second chance at today, make it count!