Guest Post by Mark Lawrence of Lifestyle Ignition
Many people complain about their jobs. “It sucks.” “I hate it.” “I want to escape.” While there is a multitude of causation, much of this angst can be tied to fake work.
What is Fake Work??
Fake Work (FW): A project or task that keeps one or multiple people busy yet has no productive value. It serves to keep an illusion alive that there is still something of productive value being achieved.
It’s these worthless tasks that make us feel worthless. Work gives us a sense of pride. It’s a large part of our identity. Most people when they first meet discuss this topic. Work is a natural topic to get a feel for what someone is like. It’s a way to instantly gauge someone’s likes, dislikes, value system, schedule, income bracket, and a whole range of stereotypes that come into play. If the tasks at work feel useless, then we feel useless. The topic of work hurts to talk about, because instead of a sense of pride, we have an uneasy feeling. It’s much easier to say you hate something, than to actually identify the reasons why.
You may not even know that you’re doing fake work or you may be doing work you perceive to be fake, but is actually is productive and real. Find out if you’re doing fake work or real work by:
- Confronting the reasons behind the completion of a task and understand how it fits into the larger process and bigger picture
There may be very good reasons to complete the tasks you’re supposed to that management understands since they see the bigger picture. However, don’t let this deter you from finding out the truth. If you as an employee don’t understand why you’re doing the things that you do, then management has failed. Much fake work has been produced under the guise of this “you don’t understand because it’s above you attitude.” Don’t let this continue.
Once you’re sure you’re doing fake work:
- Make it known. Alert the people around you of what you have found. Show them why the work is fake.
Seems simple. Ha! It’s easier said than done. A lot of fake work continues in a grand conspiracy to keep a department afloat that shouldn’t or to appear busier than they actually are. Your boss could be in on the scam because they are afraid of losing their job. You may be afraid of the retribution you would receive even if you tactfully may people at work aware of the situation. Or worse, you could realize that your job “security” rests on this conspiracy to keep going. That in exposing the fake work, you expose yourself.
If you’re afraid of getting canned for exposing fake work, then you should find another job. Sooner or later the fake work will be exposed and your position will be eliminated for you. If you work in fear of questioning authority and blindly go along in yes man mode, you are a robot, and you will be replaced by one.
If fake work is causing your job to suck, do something about it. Stop repeating excuses, and start looking for answers. Normally “I can’t…” and “It’s impossible because…” really just mean you’re not willing to step outside your comfort zone and take the risks to face your fears head on. Ask yourself, Do you feel like you’re doing “fake work”?
Mark Lawrence is the creator of Lifestyle Ignition. Listen to his interview on BlogCast FM: Mark Lawrence on Shameless Marketing, Retiring at 24, and Leaving the Template Life. Follow live updates on Twitter @igniteadventure