In November I received this:
And the penny dropped, you can give as much as you possibly can, but it's rare for someone to tell you how your life can be made easier.
It took a period of complete dissatisfaction at work to make me consider it.
That over time you give as much as you can, but the thanks slowly dissipate and the enjoyment wanes.
And you look around to see you're not alone, that everybody appears to have weights attached to their ankles.
And the fact remains, I love what I do.
I love that the theory is pure.
The proposal clearly stacks up.
But then personal motivations get involved.
Misinterpretation, convenient understanding, and self-interest.
And the need to remind constantly of the agreed motivation becomes a sing-song voice.
This year won't be easy.
We are re-structuring.
In a different way to 2010, when each unit was reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
This time, layer by layer, business purpose.
And soon it will be my turn.
So, for now, I will love my four day week.
The chance to stop things piling up to the weekend.
The fact that since I've started this arrangement, the migraines have eased to almost none.
That for the first time in forever I am exercising regularly.
That I am on top of all the appointments that seems to build up on the to-do list.
Has work been affected?
I'll be honest, I keep my blackberry close. I keep an eye on the emails coming through.
I can't stand returning to work after holidays to a pile of emails, and feel the same thing about days off.
Sometimes it backfires, there's a lively discussion going on, only serving to make me stressed as I watch from the sidelines, but generally it means I haven't missed anything.
I have swapped my day off on a number of occasions to prioritise meetings.
I have learned this remains a one way street, days do not change for personal reasons.
So, four days, condensed hours, probably work.
Maybe my customers would be better placed to assess this.
But when customers would like you to be there 24-7 it's probably not a fair assessment.
I am doing full time hours.
Prioritising meetings as appropriate.
And not thinking so much in work about all the things I haven't or need to do when I've finished work.
I have a far better work-life balance.
And my attitude to work is improving.
I know I have to beat my remaining negativity.
I know only I can do it.
That it's mine to change.