Tuesday, October 31, 2020

Selling Yourself Short

I believe that many business people cheat because they cannot differentiate any more between who they are and what they do for a living. Missing that big sale, or missing this month's numbers, feels like suffering some lessening of personal value—as if the big sale you missed was a limb that has just been sliced off. It’s worth most kinds of cheating to avoid the pain.

Here's a posting from Penelope Trunk that is worth reading and thinking about. It's called: "Moralists, ethicists and philosophers".

This is part of what she says:
But then I read that almost 50% of all graduate students cheat. Not sure what to make of this except that the same problem that makes grad students cheat—no ability to separate themselves from their grades—is the thing that makes businesspeople cheat—so wrapped up in their work that they are willing to sacrifice their morality.

So what should you do? Get a life outside of work, outside of school. That way when things go bad, you can remember that you have a life that is separate from what is going bad and you won’t feel compelled to cheat to fix it.
This is excellent advice. We often think about work/life balance as something essential to physical health and well-being. It's probably even more important for your mental functioning. Workaholics lose any sense of a boundary between themselves and their work. Without working, they feel as if they no longer exist. I suspect that many of the CEOs and other executives now behind bars were equally confused about where their own personality and existence ended and their position as CEO, and their super-star status, began. That is mental illness, pure and simple.

So make sure you take the time to retain a proper sense of proportion. Work is work. However much you value it, however much you enjoy it, it is not you. You are always far more that your job, your position, your salary, or your stock options. If you aren't, then you are worth nothing after all.

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