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  • Writer's pictureWanderer

Better Than a C and You Are Working Too Hard

My dad swears that he never said that to me... :)

I have kind of a secret weapon in this world of "if you aren't improving, you're falling behind". Admittedly, I'm missing the work-hard gene. I built a fine career, have a loving wife, great kids, golfing buddies, excellent health... but I only work hard enough to get what I want in any one thing so that I can also keep my other plates spinning "the way that I want them to".

So, "better than a C and you are working to hard." I use this as sort of a mantra when I find myself putting too much time or energy in one of my roles to the exclusion of my other equally important roles. For most of us, these days the culprit is work. In my industry (IT), people routinely 60 hours or more a week. Badge of pride? Afraid they will lose their job? Everyone else is, so I guess I should?

For me, the equation is very straight forward. How much time and effort do I need to give to make myself valuable to my team. I determine what that value is... good, friendly, professional, whatever... then I do my best to hit that level and no more. I seldom stayed late or worked weekends. That is saying a lot as a developer (although we are traditionally not the warriors the infrastructure team are).

Went through college and my masters program the same way. Got good grades and used what I learned quite a bit. Same with all of my Microsoft certifications... sure I passed the tests as close to the lowest grade acceptable; but I also did a lot of hands on that wasn't required. Certs aren't just to say you can do something... they are a guide to what is important.

I had a friend that wanted to get 100's on his cert tests... and he did... but each one took three times as long to prepare for compared to me... and he actually didn't learn the material... he was studying for the test and his random goal of 100. He admitted regularly that nobody ever asked him for his score and the first time he brought it up himself, the interviewer laughed. In this case, it was "better than a 78 and you are working too hard." I got a 62 and an 81.

It occurs to me often, when writing here, that I'm not all that impressive... and why would anyone care about my thoughts on success? I'm good with that. You will either enjoy the post and find some value in it... maybe some reminders that resonate. If you don't... and what I'm proposing makes you grind your teeth, I understand... :)

So, to put a bow on this... asking how much time and effort something actually requires to get what you want out of it... then doing as close to that amount, will bring you success in that effort, and free up more resources for everything else.

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