Let the Joneses Have It

1 May 2006

Kathy Sierra’s weblog makes you think she’s reading your mind. Her recent articles read like confessions from clients. The things that keep clients awake at night—at least my clients—are clearly explained at Kathy’s site.

In The Myth of Keeping Up we see the reading pile that has become all too familiar. Unfortunately, the reading pile that once resided at the office has a big brother gaining weight at home. Articles, books, magazines and even newspapers accumulate like loose change, but that loose change grows in value as its weight increases. Those reading piles do not!

Put the pile on a scale and you’ll discover another sibling or two with their toes on the corners pressing down. These siblings are email—in multiple accounts—along with RSS feeds, pdf downloads and web sites far and wide. Even the best automated filters and organizers do little to reduce the pressure people feel when falling behind.

Never has it been more important to understand what you are truly passionate about, what your purpose is and with whom (or what) you’re trying to keep up. Here’s a tip: if you’re trying to keep up with somebody else, stop! Stop now and free yourself from that struggle. It’s unimportant.

If you work in a place where the culture pits you against your coworker, get out now. It is 2006 and if your employer hasn’t discovered the benefits of collaboration over competition, he or she never will. You, your health and your relationships to others are far more important than trying to “keep up.”

Constant striving in these areas defines the rat race. There’s a big difference between the rodent regatta and a peaceful afternoon of sailing. Purpose, passion and balance characterize the latter. Toil, frustration and a fuzzy finish line characterize the former. Let the Jones family pull ahead. You won’t lose a thing!

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