This is not necessarily in defense of my employer.
Yesterday I spent my entire afternoon with Accenture managers from all over the MDCÂ at our 2008 Executive Conference held at Shangrila Plaza in Makati.Â During a ‘kapihan’ huddle one of the topics we discussed was how to deal with tons of work and still strike a healthy work-life balance.Â It need not be said (at least among local I.T. professionals) that Accenture has a somewhat notorious (and not-so-fair) reputation of heavy workloadsÂ that the staff allegedly end up losing their lives outside of work.Â “If you value your personal/social life, don’t work in Accenture,” an anonymous source was quoted.
Here are the facts:
1. There is indeed tons of work in Accenture.
2. But then, the same is true for almost all big companies.
Before finally coming on board, I have received several calls inviting me to join Accenture, and I have to admit that one of the two main reasons I was reluctant in accepting the invitation to apply is the aforementioned notorious reputation (the otherÂ is don’t want to go on night shift).Â But now that I’m here, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a lesson I learned several years ago when I was still a work-logged consultant in California.
Here’s the lesson: There will always be work that you need to do.Â It never runs out, and this is particularly true for progressive companies.Â No matter how much work you did today, there will always be more tomorrow.
The key to avoid burningÂ out from too much workÂ is knowing how and when to tell yourself “That’s enough for now.”
The truth is it takes almost the same degree of discipline and restraint to stop working asÂ to start working.Â Sometimes it takes more, especially whenÂ all your energy isÂ focused and you’reÂ in an almost frenzied momentum, such that you feel the only way for you to stop is for someone elseÂ to pry you off your workstation.Â What you must always drive into your head is that there will always be more of this on the next day.Â And perhaps the only time that work will run out is when you’re terminated or the company folds up.Â Which are very bad things.Â So you see, a company with tons of work is actually a good thing – it assures job security.Â But if you want to strike a healthy work-life balance, it’s up to you to tell yourself when you’ve done enough for the day.
(In addition, of course there will be times when we’d be called upon to work extended hours for a certain period, like when there’s a rush project or a backlog.Â But fortunately, this isÂ the exception, notÂ the rule.Â And again, it’s true for almost all companies)