Youth ministers seem to be particularly prone to what I will call “Pope’s Window Syndrome”. I stood in St. Peter’s Square a few years ago while a friend told me the Pope’s office window is the last light to turn off at the Vatican, communicating to everyone just how hard the Pope is working for our Church. PWS hits youth ministers hard, as they wake up early (or maybe not so early) and put in grueling 50-60 hour work weeks, leaving lights on in their office or the youth center long after everyone else has left the building.
And while putting in 60 hours a week may make you feel like you are working hard, not getting paid enough, and completely unappreciated, there is a lot of evidence that suggests the more hours you work, the less productive you could become. (See this, that, and here.) Not to mention the huge negative impact on your family life if you are married and your sanity if you are single.
Enter Sheryl Sandberg and Parkinson’s Law
Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and the first woman board member of Facebook’s board of directors. Before Facebook, she was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. Before Google, she worked as chief of staff for the United States Secretary of the Treasury. In 2012 Sheryl made the Time 100, a list of the 100 most influential people in the world. My girl Sheryl ain’t messing around.
And Sheryl leaves work everyday at 5:30 p.m.
How? My guess is that Sheryl is intentionally using something called “Parkinson’s Law” to her advantage. Parkinson’s Law originated as a simple and cheeky opening observation by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in an essay in The Economist published in 1955:
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
This one sentence kicked me in the pants and changed the way I do, well, everything. Now when I hear people moan about how late they stayed at the office, or how many hours they worked last week, I wonder if they are busy or if maybe they could do these two things better...READ MORE