The Mystique of Being Busy

There’s a state of being that is often mistaken as a great tool of mystique. The wearer feels needed, important, engaged in a task and distracted from deeper thoughts. To put this cloak of mystique on, one must simply declare they are ‘busy’.
To me, the current usage of the word ‘busy’ doesn’t indicate an activity. People can have a lot to do and not be busy, and people can have very little to do and declare themselves to be busy. Busy-ness is not a statement on volume of work now – busy has become a frame of mind.
The frame of mind is evidenced clearly in work team situations. In a close-knit environment where you generally know each other’s work, the busy person is equipped with a well rehearsed monologue on their crazy schedule and a brightly polished veneer of frantic-ness. All to disguise their lack of contribution. But very quickly, the bullshit grinds on the team.
And this is why the mystique of being busy is one huge fail – it fools no-one. Volume is as evident as the ocean’s tide. Everyone around can see how high the water is and nobody is fooled by the panicked thrashing of arms and legs in the shallows. It’s the fool keeping their face in the water who’s assuming everyone is believing their act.
Successful managers of high volumes float. They’re organised, have support, are honest about the demands on them, maintain their health and stay focussed on the floating. They have an air of capability about them, that kind of atmosphere that makes you want to give them problems to solve. And there’s no swan act – no little legs kicking underneath. Successful managers of high volume don’t channel Dalai Lama at work and them crumble into Homer Simpson at home.
But please, don’t interpret this as a call out to martyrdom of ‘doing it all’. Screw that. Shout your achievements to the rooftops and get rewarded. I just don’t think anyone ever achieves much when they are in the state of mind of being busy. Nobody likes being around busy people. And opportunities generally don’t abound for those that nobody likes being around. There’s no mystique about it, no respectability or attractiveness to it, no fascinating power – the poor busy fool.
And it’s that poor busy fool that yet again bites your head off with “I don’t have time for that right now! Look – I’m not even going to get to you until at least the end of the week.” How much more they could achieve in life if they simply re-phrased their high volume into “I will look into that, are you happy to hear from me within the week?”
Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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The Street Art Flow of HR

There’s a transiency in street art, the fact that you participate in the street art movement is pure
acceptance that nothing is permanent. It’s an invitation for other artists to erase your contribution, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a contribution to the community. 
Faith47 explains this philosophy well as “I embrace the fact that the work is temporary on the street. I’m also specifically looking for places that often are broken down factories or I know they’re not going to last very long. You know, like old rusted gates, things like that. I really like the idea that there’s something so fragile about it, and… for me that’s kind of like life, you know, you can’t hold on to things. So if you get to see that image while it’s in its space at the right time, you know, that’s like a special moment. There’s something quite beautiful about the fact that it’s not permanent.”
Working in HR is like displaying your goods up on a wall for others to tear down. Have you ever created a form template? You think ‘now this will solve a problem!’ Your form looks good, and it captures the information you need. By the time your successor sinks their teeth into your position though, your precious form will be changed. There might be a new format, different information prompts, perhaps the form will be scrapped entirely.
Does this make you feel like a victim sometimes? Like your work isn’t revered enough in comparison to your best buddy in finance who has prepared the same report for 20 years? Perhaps it makes you feel defeated after half your ideas and solutions are shot down. Maybe you’ve looked back over your old work and wondered where that spark went, because you’ve just stopped bothering to create anymore. 
If you want to work in a studio, as a solo painter, never to have your work critiqued – then don’t you
dare set a foot in the profession of HR. Because HR is street art. It’s interactive. It’s brutally transient. What worked yesterday may not work again tomorrow. It requires risk taking and a healthy level of disregard for authority. It is fresh and fast and furious. It can be serious but it can also just bring a bit of joy to an unrelated bystander’s life. It has reach beyond the street artist’s comprehension.
And you in HR, you hold the power to bring that little bit of joy to an unrelated bystander’s life. Work affects everyone. You are in the business of making work, well, work. So keep creating, and trying, and just seeing what might work. It’s encouragement to others, pushing forward, striving for better, and forcing the whole community to aim higher. Whether in your HR team, or for your successor filling your shoes – your work is contributing to the HR community as a whole.
Legacies are rarely pinpointed to one creation. The harsh truth is that you’re probably not good enough to create that one piece of legacy-making work anyway. Case in point, for a world-wide movement, how many street artists can you actually name? But each and every one of us is capable of creating a legacy with our attitude. So contribute, and let the world move forward from your contribution with your blessing. You will be remembered by those who matter.

The John Lennon Wall in Prague via Untappedcities.com

Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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How A Public Service Career Can Make You Millions

Catch me today over at Careers in Government, talking about
How A Public Service Career Can Make You Millions

It was written very tongue in cheek – and then I re-read it and saw that I was kind of right. Oh dear.

Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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