I think I’ve been misunderstanding work for a little over a year now. After finishing a few books, having lots of talks with officemates and friends and drawing on personal experience, I now understand a little more on how it is to work.

1) I understand why we get busy, and we get paid for it. I understand that you are busy because you are being paid. Who would pay a slacker?

2) I understand that to be a good employee, you don’t have to stay until the wee hours of the night. You can be a good employee and work hard, or be a better employee and work smart, work efficiently and work effectively.Β  Come in on time, finish on time, leave. You are not a bad employee nor a non-team-player, you are just more efficient and have better time management skills. That’s definitely something your boss will appreciate more.

3) I understand that to be a loyal employee, you don’t have to stay with the company until you die. I understand that loyalty is a choice, and it is your decision to give your best effort to the company while you still work for it.

4) I understand how tools, systems and processes can deter efficiency.. at first. However, efficiency may often be confused with effectivity. Efficiency is doing things right. Effectivity is doing the right thing. It is possible for you to be very efficient, but you may not be doing what you want to do in the first place.

I understood this idea better after reading Richard Marcinko’s and James Autry’s books. Introducing new tools, systems and processes may elicit negative responses from the people because to them, it hurts; it is unwanted change. This will result in an inefficient workforce. However, if implemented correctly, this should and will train the people to be effective. The hurt they experience will then be good for them. Once people know how to do the right things, then they can do it right more easily. It will hurt less.

5) I understand that change is an important teacher and/or boss in the workplace. If you get too complacent, expect that change will arrive to give you that kick you deserve. And it is a painful boss, because it does not know the proper way to kick, via the Sandwich method–Kiss, Kick, Kiss.

But change is not necessarily bad, because change also provides one with room for growth. When change occurs, opportunities reveal themselves for those who are aware and willing. Change teaches us to always be on our toes.

6) Finally, I understand how life really rewards people. Quoting Robert Kiyosaki, he says, “In the real world, it’s not the smart that get ahead, but the bold.” In the workplace, a genius who never speaks up during meetings is as useless as any employee who is an absenteeist. If the your workplace consists of dynamic leaders who do not mind getting input from their people, then there is no need to be hesitant, timid or shy. Speak your mind (properly) and make that impression.

I’m not sure what keeps you happy with work, but remembering these learnings keep me sane everyday, despite having lots to do. Here’s a quick summary.

1) Busy means you have work. You have work means you earn.
2) A good time manager is a great worker.
3) Loyalty is a choice, and it is not time-dependent.
4) Effectivity first, efficiency later, even if it hurts.
5) Change is a double-edged blade, it can hurt you or give you an opportunity.
6) Be bold.