Fake Work: What Telling Everyone You’re ALWAYS Busy Says About You

We’ve all been there.

  • You call a business contact, ask how they are and they answer “You know BUSY BUSY BUSY, it NEVER STOPS around here”
  • You bump into an office colleague getting coffee and they say “I can’t stop I am BACK TO BACK all day”, coincidentally these are the colleagues who are always 10 minutes late to any conference call and reiterate how busy they are (by being late) at the start of the call by saying they are BACK TO BACK with calls
  • You meet a tangential colleague and they tell you they are ALL ABOUT THE GRIND, alongside a throwaway fact to emphasize how amazingly driven they are.

Do you know what that says to me?

  • Your business contact is desperately trying to sell you on how indispensable their services are by trying to project that EVERYONE else is working with them and you should be too.
  • Your direct colleague is trying so hard to impress everyone all the time, that they’ve forgotten that taking the time to listen and connect in the brief moments where the day allows meaningful (albeit brief) human connection builds trust and affinity, that’s a useful commodity when working collaboratively. Also being late to every conference call doesn’t look impressive, it illustrates a lack of basic time management and influence skills. Get there on time. Don’t be THAT person.
  • The tangential colleague lacks self-confidence to take a moment and reflect on what’s happening right in front of them, to share an insight or ask what’s going on with your work, to broaden their own perspective. They’re simply playing a role.

We can all be busy. It’s easy, we can create meetings, workstreams, cross-functional teams, slack groups, email threads, video calls. It takes 10 seconds to send a meeting invite.

All of this misses a fundamental point.

Organizations are built from humans, and the connectivity of work communities depends on the effort that those members put into the building, nurturing and fostering of meaningful relationships that can be called upon when push comes to shove.

So think about it. The next time you call or bump into someone, try and resist the urge to emphasize how important you think you are, or how indispensable your product or service is and try and connect. Drop the facade, erase the ego and be human.

Because being human is good business.

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