It used to be that a person would go to their job and be able to come home and leave their work behind to spend time with their families, their friends, and their passions. Now, we don’t just bring our devices to work, we bring our whole selves to work. We love working with our colleagues, but we hate having to re-document the work that we’ve already done just so someone can make a PowerPoint deck for reporting up to the SVP. We don’t mind the travel, but the expense report process is still stuck in the 80s.
The modern work life certainly has its benefits: we can be ourselves everywhere and often our work friends become our best friends. Our careers are in our own hands instead of being tied to a company for life. But the modern work life also has its downsides: we can never disconnect, and the highs from doing a good job are matched by the terror of missing an email, forgetting a deadline, or letting our coworkers down. There’s always the feeling that you’re one mistake away from not having a job.
There’s a lot of literature and resources about how to make our work lives more productive. For example, the Corporate Athlete reminds us to take care of our bodies. We fill our desk drawers with granola bars, Luna Bars, Kashi Bars, Kind Bars, and protein bars. There’s even a whole business around being mindful at work.
But all these things are about being better at work, instead of having work be better for us. That’s not ideal — what we need are better ways to do work. Even more importantly, we need to find ways to focus more on the things that matter at work and less on the minutiae that gets in the way. We need distance from make-work so that we can do better at our “real” jobs for our clients and for our colleagues. It’s not just about taking all the miles you’ve racked up visiting clients and going on another trip somewhere for two weeks — it’s about reconsidering our day-to-day and hour-to-hour routines.
We’ve chosen to take on those student loans to get that top education, and we’ve chosen to take on these jobs to have an interesting and fulfilling work life. No one should feel sorry for us, and we shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves. Yet, instead of replacing one choice with another, it feels like we’ve stacked obligations on obligations on obligations — making it feel like it’s impossible to get distance from where we came from and where we are now. Those moments where we get to savor our progress and success are just too few and far between. But there’s an opportunity to truly take advantage of what’s out there to make our work lives themselves better — and, as a result, make our whole lives better.
At Braid, we’re just making software to help people work better with their teams and clients. We know that we’re not changing the world. But we are interested in interrogating our routine workflows and questioning why things are done the way they are. And if there’s a way to make our work lives better while doing our jobs better, then we think we should at least give it a shot.
If you’re interested in thinking about and working on this with us, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. And if you have ideas or insights that you’d like to share with others, please reach out at [email protected]. We’re excited about what we’re building but we’re even more excited about making our little dent in the universe by making every day just a little bit better for work and for life.