Way back in the 1990s, it became de rigueur for businesses to exhort their wage slaves into giving 110 percent to the job. I always loathed that expectation as well as its phrasing. When not wallowing in the magic of word salads, I tend toward the literal and logical. If I give all (100 percent) of myself, then who’s providing that additional 10 percent? This is followed by wondering as to whether there would be anything left of me if I gave 100 percent to the job. Don’t the kids and husband and pets deserve a good portion of me, too? What about me? What do I deserve to reserve for myself?
That expectation to always be on the hustle annoyed me then and it still annoys me. Articles on Inc. and Forbes and posts in LinkedIn to the contrary, business expects their employees to give their all, as if a salary in exchange for a certain number of hours of work entitled them to ownership of mind, body, and soul all the time.
Thank God I freelance.
Of course, it’s considered unprofessional to mention other clients to any client. After all, each client should feel as though you’ve all the time and energy in the world to devote to him or her. No client should feel as though they have competition or must share your time, attention, and energy.
That particular attitude was pounded into us at a former job, practically with the expectation that we were to work 40 hours per week for each client. If one managed two or three clients, then one was obligated to put in 80 or 120 hours per week.
Not happening, folks. Now, when a client comes to me with a project, I have the authority and responsibility to inform that client when I can fit the project into my schedule and estimate how long it will take me to do. I take into account not only my anticipated workload, but also my schedule. What appointments do I have? What deadlines do I have?
If we go further back to that late 1980s, I remember sitting in an interview for a technical writer position (which I didn’t get) and the hiring manager (another woman) stating that women’s fight to gain equal rights in the workplace resulted in losing some gender-based considerations and preferences. When my mother was pregnant, she lost her job. Back in the 1960s and earlier, that was common. A woman was expected to devote herself to her family. That began to change in the 1970s. By the 1980s, a woman was expected to devote herself wholly to job and family. Separately, as never should the twain mix.
In some ways, it’s true. Women’s Lib cost women a good deal by insisting society ignore biological differences and treating men and women identically and interchangeably for the most part.
But I digress.
I never say I’ll give something my all. Instead I give it my best. I think that’s fair.