Early in my career I interviewed for an investment advisor position at a global brokerage house. During the interview I emphatically discussed my philosophy of working smarter not harder.
I didn’t get the job.
Part of the reason I wasn’t hired was that deep down I wasn’t convinced that it was true. All my life nearly everyone had told me the opposite: if you work hard then you’ll be rewarded.
Throughout this 90 day blogging challenge to land my dream job I share what tasks I work on to get me closer to my goal and how I feel along the way. All of these job hunting activities coupled with managing my eBay store make for very long days. So much hard work yet I still feel like I’m spinning my wheels most of the time.
There may be a scientific explanation for this.
The article, Nobody Cares How Hard You Work, with its sobering title makes the convincing claim using research from one of my former Duke University professors (Hi Dan!) that all these hours I’m putting in may largely be a waste of time.
Ouch does that hurt.
The author further explains that of the most accomplished artists and writers none of them spent more than 5 hours at a time working on their craft. Maybe I should have believed the advice I spoke about in vain all those years ago—maybe working smarter is better than working harder.
I know in theory that no one can maintain a high level of productivity for 12 hours straight, but is that the real reason I remain unemployed?
Though I’ve written more about the lows than the highs during this blogging challenge, I’ll admit that the majority of the activities I spend my time on: getting to know new people, reconnecting with old colleagues and the extensive thinking, writing and editing that goes into these posts have felt very good to do.
I suppose then that I like to work hard? Ugh, so confusing.
Nonetheless, I heeded the advice of ‘work smarter, not harder’ yesterday and took a break from writing this post. Today I have come to a conclusion. The real reason I experience such frustration in the work I’ve been doing is not so much the long hours I put in, but rather that the work has largely been unrewarded.
No one is paying me to get to know people and to write (not yet at least).
I make the distinction that my tasks aren’t entirely devoid of reward because there’s great satisfaction in doing work that I choose and I am elated when readers write me to say that a post resonated with them or that they found a link or book recommendation helpful. To me, helping others is the ultimate form of work satisfaction, but what I’m doing isn’t work in the economic sense of the word.
It is the personal work I must do to land a job that will once again pay me for my time and efforts. Until that moment comes, I’ll be more mindful of how I spend my hours and smarter about when to say ‘done’ for the day.
My name is Viola Minicozzi and I’m a HR professional looking to land my dream job in Phoenix, AZ. From December 1, 2015 through March 1, 2016, I’ve committed to blogging everyday on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter about my progress and a host of other career related topics along the way.
Join me on the journey. #90DaysToMyDreamJob