Dying to Work Late?

Abundance Accountability Respect


Story: Klever Freire and colleague Gabriel Otrin were working late at their downtown Toronto office building last week, during a crazy cloudburst downpour. It was about 11:00 p.m. and the cleaning staff warned them that cars might be flooded in the underground parking garage, so the men jumped on the elevator. As they descended, the lift quickly filled with dirty sludge water, and in a matter of minutes, the two found themselves chin-deep, despite standing on the elevator’s handrails. When they only had about 30 centimeters of space between the water and the roof of the elevator, they frantically started punching a ceiling panel in an attempt to escape. They did manage to open a crack just big enough to squeeze a cellphone out to call 911. Fortunately, two police officers were close by and rescued the trapped men. I’m not doing justice to how dramatic the situation really was. Watch the interview with Mr. Freire for the full impact of this amazing story (the two police officers were heroic). What struck me while listening to the interview with Klever, was his honest statement explaining how he originally intended to take his daughter to a movie that night, but chose to late to work on something that in retrospect seemed rather unimportant. Hmm… How many of us have sacrificed personal commitments to work on stuff, that in hindsight, was just not that vital? In this case, the decision could have cost lives and become an unspeakable tragedy.

Key Point: As I continue to do that “August post-retirement weeding,” and raise some of those self-reflective questions, I wonder why I made some of the choices I did in choosing work over personal commitments. I remember being in Hawaii on a precious family vacation and missed a long standing family outing to be on a conference call, because my new boss insisted on my attendance. I can’t even remember the topic. I do believe he was making sure that everyone knew he was the “new Marshall in town.” How many other times did I choose work over family? Was it always necessary, or was my action based on personal fear, insecurity, or ego? I do think I made more wise choices than not regarding this topic, and frankly I obviously can’t change the past. However, I missed some important moments based on wrong headed self-indulgence. What I can do NOW is remind my readers that sometimes we just mindlessly get on the elevator, not realizing it’s actually descending and filling up with water. Why? Be brave. Chose “movie night” more often than not. You and your loved ones are worth it.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Have a reasonable criteria for knowing when you really need to be attending to other parts of your life other than work. Have the courage to both ask and answer that question truthfully. What is the consequence either way?
  2. If you’re a leader, be mindful what your asking or expecting of others. What example are you setting? Never ask people to show up just because you’re the boss. The corporate super stars are no longer the people (if they ever were) who give everything else up to win the time at work battle. Although, there clearly are times when obligation to the organization and commitment to others does demand extraordinary work investment and some personal sacrifice. However, it really doesn’t take courage to pass on movie night. Any confused martyr can do it.

Keeping Movie Night in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: Expanding on last blog’s point about many positions generally being able to work from anywhere, this professionally excites me. Thanks to the ability to access shared Google documents, being able to virtually attend meetings via Hangout or FaceTime, etc, it seems that we’ll have more opportunity to contribute from anywhere, at any time. Yes, no results = no job, but maybe some extra work can be accomplished on the way to movie night.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis