Freedom is a LOUDLY communicated core value of this wonderful country. Yet how is it that in the name and pursuit of this ‘right’ to freedom so many have actually willingly enslaved themselves to work? How would you know? Here’s five clues you have become a slave in your workplace… and what you can do about it.
1. You wake in the night thinking of all the things you ‘need’ to do
How often have you woken up and your mind immediately goes to a wildly long list of tasks that need to be accomplished… like yesterday!? You kick yourself for waking up, then your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t go back to sleep so you might as well get up and make a list or open up that screen and get something done while it is ‘quiet.’
2. Your vacation time includes secret work visits – email, phone, website tweaks…
You go on vacation but you take your laptop, ipad, iphone or mobile device and can’t help yourself but check messages and emails during your ‘time off.’ You decide where you are going for vacation based on the access to wifi so that you can ‘keep tabs on the project’ or ‘just update social media.’ Perhaps you even sneak into a separate room from your family to do an ‘urgent and important’ meeting with a ‘high value’ client.
3. Someone close asks and you repeatedly respond “Not now I’m busy… [working]”
How often do you take your work home with you (mobile device or laptop or phone or even the ‘office’ in your head) and find yourself zoned out to family and zoned in on some work task? You may even find yourself buried in a screen and suddenly become aware one of your roommates or family members have been calling your name or asking you a question… repeatedly. When you finally become present they say, “Oh, don’t worry about it.” But you can tell by their look and body language that you should be!
Maybe it’s your son or daughter (or spouse), standing beside you saying “Dad…. Dad…. Dad…..” but you are lost in ‘computer-land.’
4. You can’t remember the last time you relaxed with NO AGENDA
When did you last have a vacation (or even a SINGLE DAY) where you had NO AGENDA other than to relax, refresh, recuperate, or recreate? Can you go a single day where you don’t think about your work? Do you even have a day off each week?
Do you have an OFF button?
5. You have no life outside of work
You justify this one by saying that work makes you ‘come alive’ or stimulates you or gives you energy. Really you have no life outside of work. No wider relationships. No hobbies. No fun activities outside of what you do in or around your work roles.
Suddenly you wake up and realize there is no difference to your life and that of a slave or prison inmate, except that you have the illusion of being ‘free.’ Well, at least there are no bars on your windows… if you have one!
Are YOU a Slave to Work?
If you have felt yourself react to any of these five clues you may be like me. You realize that you have been sucked into the vortex of work and it is now driving you.
Freedom means “I tell me what to do and I do it” (thanks Danny Silk!).
Are you telling yourself what to do in regard to your work? Or have you really given over the reigns to the secret task master masquerading as responsibility or achievement. This invisible task master is subtly and silently increasing your required output with ever reducing inputs. Like making more bricks with less straw. Sound familiar?
So how’s that working for you? Would you like to change? Would you like to be free?
Next blog I will share five practical keys to live free. In the meantime, here’s a couple things you can do first to align your internal world:
1. Meditate on this:
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. Psalm 127:2
2. Ask Jesus:
“What lie(s) am I believing that are making me a slave to work?”
Listen. The first thought will be the lie. My lie was “I have to do something significant.”
Give Him the lie and then ask:
“What is the truth?”
Listen again. Write it down. Actually, write it down with the old lie in the comments below because this stuff is common to us all. Write the truth BIG AND BOLD. Say it out loud. When I did this I heard Him say, “Everything I do is significant (context: playing with my kids, washing the dishes…). When you are redeemed, EVERYTHING is significant.”
“What is one thing I could do this week to live free?”
3. Now DO IT.
I am going to put the truth phrase where I can see it daily. I will declare it frequently, especially when I arrive home, before walking inside.
Andy Mason comes from New Zealand and has 15+ years experience helping individuals and organizations discover and align with purpose, then develop practical steps to make dreams a reality. He has worked for a national consultancy firm and leading financial institution as well as investing in international community development. Andy is the director of Heaven in Business and together with his wife, Janine, leads Dream Culture – a movement catalyzing people to discover and live their dreams. Andy and Janine live with their four children in Redding, Ca.