THE RIVETER: How to Show Your Value While Breaking Free from Overwork

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Whitney spoke to members of The Riveter community, during which she shared the foundations of her coaching program, Take Back Your Time, and answered questions about showing your value to your organization while working remotely and getting clarity around a company’s expectations in a culture that worships overwork.

The Riveter is an online community where over 30,000 working women and allies can come together to support each other, advocate for what matters, and drive change. 

How can I show my value and ambition in a remote environment when it’s harder to get a pulse on what’s important and relevant?

When we’re all working remotely and don’t have an opportunity for face-to-face interactions, it’s challenging to keep up with shifting priorities. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time and energy working on something that turns out to no longer be a priority. 

Whitney recommends creating opportunities for clear, intentional communication. Set up regular check-ins with your team and with leadership to ask about the biggest priorities and what’s of highest value to the company right now. Make sure you schedule consistent check-ins with your direct manager. During those meetings, ask what the highest priority items are for the company, for your team, and for your individual role.

Asking these intentional questions will keep you from wasting time on a project that’s no longer a priority. These conversations show your manager and leadership that you’re invested in your work and the company and that you’re ambitious. Show your manager that you want to align your work with the high-priority items and make them aware of your contributions. 

When more of us are working remotely, it’s key to be intentional in communicating with teams and managers. By setting up regular opportunities to touch base, you can make sure you’re focusing your time and energy on projects that are a top priority and highlight your work to your managers at the same time. 

What can I do when my job promotes the “hamster wheel lifestyle” and references it during performance reviews?

We live in a society that applauds busyness and sees overwork as a badge of honor. But, this leads to frustration, burnout, and an inability to live the life you truly want. If your company has a heavy focus on the number of hours you work and associates more hours with better work, that’s when it’s time for a gut check. 

Whitney recommends doing a gut check to figure out whether your company is explicitly asking you to work a certain number of hours regardless of performance or if they feel like you are underperforming and need to work more hours to meet the standard of work they expect. 

If it’s not really about the hours and it’s about your performance, it’s time to assess whether the role is the right fit for you or whether there are things you need to change to work more efficiently and do the work at the level your company expects.

If the culture legitimately expects excessive hours no matter what your performance is, it’s a good time to step back and ask yourself if you want to stay at the company long term. If it’s not the right fit, then it’s time to look at charting your path to working somewhere that’s a better match for your values and what’s important to you. 

Working remotely is an adjustment, and losing the face-to-face interaction with managers can make it harder to get recognition for your work and to manage expectations around your schedule. Add rhythms of regular communication with your manager and team to adjust priorities and make sure you’re on the right track. If your company places a high value on the number of hours you’re working regardless of your outcomes, have a candid conversation with your manager about their expectations. Initiating these conversations will give you the clarity you need about managing your time and whether you’re on track to meet the most important goals you have for your life and your career. 

August 7, 2020

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I help my clients take back control over their time, define success on their own terms, and unlock their full potential.