So… Why did Tradoctas take a break from social media?
Today, Juana and I would like to talk about our experiences in relation with the importance of rest, a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ratified in Argentina with the right to be offline under remote working conditions (Executive Order No. 27/2021).
I was exhausted on that very early morning. I was going through several months of very hard decisions and unexpected events. It was the beginning of the month, and I knew I had to send the invoice I have prepared that day, so I wrote a polite and almost robotic email with one hand and sent it. It was weeks since the last time I had a good night’s sleep. My company was working on several projects with delivery dates on the following weeks. The first work meeting of the day was due on the next five minutes. At the second meeting of the day, two hours later, I was supposed to give feedback to, and receive feedback from, one my son’s therapists. Everything was important and urgent, and prioritization was hard with so much at stake. And then, the rampaging disease that was consuming my dear loving dog, my companion for the last 14 years, stroke that same morning and she died in my arms.
A few days later, Juana came to talk to me with a plan in one hand and her resignation letter in the other, and she said—I’m so sorry, I just need to take a break. I thanked her, rejected the plan, and said—this plan is fantastic, but I also need to take a break. So, we took the hard and, oh, so necessary, decision to stop all business activity of Tradoctas in social media and work on our well-being, despite the fear of jeopardizing the work we were building, our metrics and the so-called “fear of missing out”.
The well-being and the corporate world
We realize we’re not the only persons in this world who need to stop when everything becomes unbearable and that it’s OK not to be OK. Especially when so many things were happening and not seeing, not seizing that, is against what we want for ourselves as human beings and professionals. I don’t want that behavior to set an example to my team. Not so long ago a colleague said that one of the best characteristics of my work is that I put my money where my mouth is (you can fact-check that on my LinkedIn recommendations, haha). I’m truly happy that it shows.
But why does everybody need to take a break?
Tradoctas is a woman-owned company and it is also a team made up mostly of women, so we take into account that the overload of responsibility usually triggers physical and mental burnout. Also, statistics show people in charge of care activities in Argentina are predominantly women: the main work of almost three million Argentine women is taking care of other people. According to a survey led by the International Labour Organisation, the work of 9 in 10 of those three million women is unpaid.
In Argentina, almost 3 million women work in the care sector. 9 out of 10 perform this activity without receiving remuneration and dedicate twice their time when compared to men.
So, this is the story: you wake up in the morning, make breakfast for the whole family, switch the washing machine and go to work. Maybe in irregular conditions. Then, someone has to pick up the kids from school, take them to their extracurricular activities, cook dinner and reboot the morning after with all concerns and mental workload of all the responsibilities of different social spheres. The consequences are physically, economically, and psychologically palpable. Maybe this is your story too.
Apart from the need to have public policy covering care with a holistic and gender-responsive lens, such as the Argentine bill Cuidar en igualdad (Equal care), self-care is a feasible strategy to preserve one’s own well-being.
In the United States, Adobe was ranked as the company with happiest employees in 2021. Their policy entails, among other benefits, granting flexible work time to adapt to the responsibilities of those who care for other people.
The Eisenhower matrix in a (teeny tiny) nutshell
I have recently changed my email signature and now I leave this message: “I am working remotely in Greenwhich Meridian Time -3 (GMT-3) and my work hours may not coincide with yours. If this email finds you outside of your usual office time, please do not feel an obligation to respond. I respect your work boundaries and do not expect an immediate response.” We all need to take a moment for ourselves, and we have the right of choosing when that moment will be, in spite of the pressure of other people. Everything is not urgent and not everybody in a company is in charge of everything.
Breaks do not mean unproductiveness and loss. For example, even though Tradoctas metrics grew steadily in social media, particularly with our new audiovisual strategy on Instagram, after we took our break we could verify we didn’t lose followers and our statistics were far from plummeting. Sometimes, choosing what to say may also mean recognizing our own boundaries and take a moment to strategize with sustainability, without overwhelming ourselves.
We can, for example, delegate without compromising our goals. And that obviously doesn’t mean being less committed towards our daily activities, instead, it means we can work and rest while being aware of our most important daily tasks as well as our well-being, with a smarter use of the hideous concept of “productivity”—working better, not longer.