Tea Time & Leave Time

Tea Time & Leave Time

A four word sentence, "I'm on tea break."

This can cause a chain reaction of destruction.

I had an administrator who went to our finance guy's office and needed things done immediately. It's the nature of finance, signatories, quick decisions and flexible culture.

This finance person needed to sign one thing to the keep the momentum of the day on a high. His response?

"I'm on tea break. Come back in 30 minutes."

The pen was there. The paper was there. The action was simple. But, this man, and many employees in Africa, feel the need to completely check out of life when it is their tea break.

It's sort of like a precious ritual with no benefits. Even the sugar in the tea kills them.

Tea time should be taken any time as long as there's hustle and flow, and the work is getting done. Put down that cup of leaves, do the job, and make sure that everyone around you thinks you’re Superman or Wonder Woman with a good attitude.

Tea time is a privilege, not a right. And anything productive should disrupt your tea time like Amazon.com disrupted retail chains.

Now that we’ve discussed Tea Time. Let’s discuss Leave Time.

Leave Time is also like this in Africa. I don't understand it.

You call your vendor and ask them for the new artwork. Let’s say they’re a print company—so their job centers around this deliverable. They are pushing for delivering this and even get bonuses for helping you (their client) achieve something.

But wait for it...

They say, “Sorry, I’m on leave."

Leave has become such a negative word. Leaving is never progressive and it's never interesting. Maybe we should switch it to Here Time not Leave Time.

Leave Time seems to be connotated to dropping every bit of responsibility that you have at the workplace, turning off your brain completely, and washing your hands of any responsibility that keeps you employed.

The funny thing is that people also “leave," but they don't anywhere! They are literally at home or sitting in a park, five blocks down from their office.

95% of the time they are doing nothing.

It reflects how people view responsibility and how they care (or not care) about the progression of their team, their company, and themselves.

Those who love their Leave Time and love their Tea Time, hate life in Real Time.

If you own something, you're never on leave. Or if you take some time off, you’ve put systems in place and people in charge to handle your tasks.

So if you own your job, if you own your position, if you own your team's reputation, then the excuse can never be "I'm on leave."

Holidays are great and very important to your overall psyche. But when your job needs to be done, you can’t just claim you’re on leave and create a trail of undone tasks and communications lying all over the office.

So please get off leave, please stop drinking so much sugary tea and let's make the world turn more smoothly. Because that's why you're employed.

(photo via thomas leuthard)