When Going Above and Beyond Becomes Too Much

This past week has been a whirlwind. It got me thinking and taking a deeper look into organizational success and what it means to go above and beyond in the workplace. Yes, it is true that goals and objectives set the tone for an organization. But I believe there is an underlying theme of what an organization says versus what an organization does.

Awadh and Saad do a great job of explaining the impact of organizational culture on employee performance and note that it is indeed managers and leaders that set the tone. I believe it is safe to say that in order for an organization to be successful it takes long hours, hard work, dedication and more importantly a commitment. But at what cost?

From my personal experience working in the nonprofit sector, I know all too well. Working from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., long hours on weekends, the accolades of taking one for the team and doing a great job, but suffering from lack of sleep, health issues and unhealthy eating habits. I told myself that health matters, but when I had to choose between health or put in 60-70 hours work weeks, I don’t know many people who would not work the 60-70 hours when it seems necessary, so that is exactly what I did.

Most organizations I have come across believe in a healthy employee. However, more times than not, I have seen just the opposite. Repeatedly, I would be the employee who stepped up to get the job done at any cost. One day I had to ask myself what dedication meant when I am sitting in front of a computer at 7:30 p.m. on a Friday evening while everyone else had left to start their weekend. What happened next changed my views of organizational success and how organizations view “success.”

I had sat in front of my work computer since 8 a.m. that morning. By 7:30 p.m., my vision was blurred, I started having headaches and the feeling of exhaustion came over me. I tried to drink water and walk around, but none of that helped. I packed up my things, walked out the building and did not return until Monday. That day I choose my health over what the organization considered success, which was getting the work done despite any obstacles.

Learning how to create boundaries and still achieve job goals is not easy. Each day is a new day of managing expectations, as well as going above and beyond.

Submitted by Shirmel Hayden


One thought on “When Going Above and Beyond Becomes Too Much

  1. Shirmel you make a good case of organizational dissonance. Any organization has to respect work-life balance. The reasons are many but the lost costs of employee wellness, performance and ultimately low retention rates are some significant reasons. My observations are that some nonprofits pay disproportionately from the top down, yet the actual production occurs at lower levels. The manager and staff need to clearly discern work issues and set reasonable expectations. For example, if the employee exceeds expectations while working overtime, then either overtime pay or added positions are solutions. However, not communicating about your circumstances is remiss by both management and you. Unless your nonprofit rears work-hamsters, then you have the suggested choices for discussion with management or leaving. Good Day.


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