Work to live. Don’t live to work.
“You are on a holiday?”
I get this question regularly, even when I am close to being submerged… For some or other reason I regularly meet people who think I am on a holiday.
In the beginning I thought it was because I am a woman, passing by the grocery store and the bakery after work or during lunch break… so people see me in town not only with my briefcase, but also with a grocery bag, just like anyone who maybe only needs to do that. Now the questioning about whether I worked or not, became so persistent, I had to give my behaviour some more thought.
Even in airports, while wearing a black jacket, and with only a black briefcase in my hand. On my last flight to Montreal, I met an old colleague who was travelling with his wife to visit their son in Canada. Even them, knowing me relatively well, asked:
“Oh is your husband in Montreal this week?”
“No he is not.”
“Ah, I thought you were joining him for the weekend?”
“No I am not. I just go for work.”
“You still work?”
“Yes, at least for another 10 or 15 years… or as long as I think it is fun. What about you?”
Same story on the plane to Rome last month. An older couple next to me wanting to find out about my agenda: “Morning, are you going to Rome or somewhere else in Lazio or Umbria?”
“Ah, do you have family in Rome?”
“No. I have not.”
“Oh, so what are you going to do then in Rome?”
“Well, you know, l work.”
Do you have children?”
“Yes, madam, I have. Two.”
“So, what are they doing when you travel?”
“They go to school, study, go out, stuff like that… And they have a father as well.”
Conversation followed by silence.
I could go on for a while with similar anecdotes.
Conclusion: it is most probably not the way I dress nor the type of bag I am carrying. There must be something else I do which gives people the feeling that I am a seasoned holidaymaker. In fact, this is not a bad thing after all: it means that I am not radiating that kind of “I am completely stressed out” feeling. It also proves that I am not into the “busy busy busy” posture, and that I am not constantly on the phone checking mails or texts.
Watch it when you are sitting next to somebody next time in an airport or a plane. Some people really keep on reading the same stuff over and over again 🙂
Ask yourself why…
The “24 hours” secret
So, what’s the secret to look like a seasoned holiday maker?
Well, the secret is there are 24 hours in a day. And I try to use them in the most efficient way. I do not necessarily work from 8 till 12 and from 13 till 18 or whatever is supposed to be correct office time. I do not necessarily work out of my traditional office environment either. But I make sure the work is done and in balance with all the rest I want to accomplish.
And of course, sunglasses in my hair do the rest.
When do I work?
- Anytime. Wherever.
- Whenever I feel the time is right to make things happen.
- When it is a priority to accomplish something we gave our commitment for.
- “My office is where I am” has been my “being independent” mantra since 2009, so yes, some stuff can be done from a terrace. Preferably a beautiful one somewhere in the south. Italy is fine.
- Even late at night, if the daytime drew my attention to something else.
Why do I work?
- To reach the goals we set for others and for ourselves.
- To keep on growing in everything we do.
- To live.
- Because it is fun. Most of the time it really is.
- Because I believe we can make a difference.
- Because we made a promise to someone and we want to keep it. Unconditionally.
So next time you see me in departure in Brussels Airport or anywhere else under the sun… let’s have a coffee. Only if time permits, of course.