Rule 83: Know when to stay late and when to go early

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Nigeria's Famous Gospel Musician Jeremiah Gyang 

There is an unwritten rule that if you want to get on you have to stay late because everyone else stays late. Clones stay late.  Drones stay late.  Worker ants stay late. Rules Players go home when they want to and that is invariably earlier than anyone else.

It’s the same with arriving in the office in the morning.  Who says you have to arrive early?  No one.  It is one of those unwritten rules we need to know, so we can adapt it to our own ends.

The object of the exercise is to be thought to be working as hard as everyone else. The game is to get way with being thought of as a conformist, a drone, when in fact you don’t have to because you are so much better than that.  You get your work done in record time so you don’t have to stay late.

“People think that leaving early or at the right time actually, the time we are contracted to leave – will draw undue attention to us, make us seem to be shirkers or skivers.  But if we leave confidently and honestly this doesn’t happen”

If you ever watch motivational speakers, they always put their hand up when they ask you and the rest of the audience a question.  This sets the lead and you automatically put your hand up because there is already one hand up in the room.  Silly isn’t it?  But it only takes one of you to leave at a reasonable time for everyone else to follow suit.  Staying because you think everyone else is staying is called ‘presenteeism’ and is a curse of modern office life.  We all think that everyone else is watching us, as we are watching them, to see who will be the first to break, to leave, to incur the boss’s wrath.

It is however a myth.  The first to leave isn’t going to be missing anything.  They will be liberating the rest of us. Leave now and set us free, please.

The fear of missing something is very real.  But if we are leading exciting and interesting lives, we know that we are the centre of the universe and that the others who stay behind are the ones who are in reality missing out, missing something, missing in action.

People think that leaving early or at the right time actually, the time we are contracted to leave – will draw undue attention to us, make us seem to be shirkers or skivers.  But if we leave confidently and honestly this doesn’t happen. We only get viewed badly for leaving before others if we slink out, leave by the back door, creep away into the night with our tail between our legs.  So wave boldly and tell them, ‘Last one to leave turns out the lights’.  Whether it is fair to point out that if they were any good at their jobs they too, like you, would have finished their work on time is debatable.  You are allowed to think it though.

 (Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “The Secret of theft and perks rule” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

Rule-to-Work Series

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