For 25 years I worked in corporate offices in Washington, DC. Long hours of eating lunch at my desk, late hours and constant deadlines. Bosses who wanted to know that they saw you at your desk from morning till night; seen but not heard.
Then I started watching those around me who were coming in early but hanging out at other desks to talk for a couple hours, then go grab a coffee next door and then around mid-day get some work done. Then in the afternoon they would find another place to hang out where the boss couldn’t see them and work the football pool. Then maybe at the end the day do some internet searches and social posts.
If you have ever seen the movie “Office Space” the reason it holds up, is that it touches the truth. There is a part where the lead actor explains his day doing about an hour of “actual work.”
When I started a regular yoga practice in the early 2000’s I worked all day and even missed lunch just so I could get out to an evening of yoga class. Rushing in traffic to just get 75 minutes to myself. I knew I needed it both physically and mentally. Yet leaving the office to help my mind and body wasn’t something that bosses viewed positively. In fact they thought the person working late was working harder. Corporate America still has a way to go at understanding how to quantify the value of someones work. Is it the quality or quality? Also if someone left for a happy hour event that was viewed as networking so that kind of event was viewed as acceptable to leave for at the end of the day.
I wish I could say it has changed but so many I teach yoga or mediation today are dealing with the same struggles. Additionally they know that their bosses need the practice just as much…if not more.
Years of my struggles has taught me this much: Don’t tell them you are leaving for a wellness practice. Don’t save a space on your work calendar that says “yoga”.
Nope just find yourself walking out the door and tell them you are going to a “professional development meeting” instead!
“Go on now go…walk out the door” They will survive and by the way….so will you.
“…Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh no not I, I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give
I will survive
Hey hey” –Diana Ross “I will Survive”