Business Consulting

Facilitator Spotlight: The Five O’Clock Scramble

“It’s 5:00 PM at the office.  Working fast, you’ve finished your tasks for the day and want to go home.  But none of your colleagues have left yet, so you stay another hour or two, surfing the Web and reading  your emails again, so you don’t come off as a slacker.”

This was the opening paragraph of an article in the 10/7/12 New York Times by Robert C. Pozen, author of the new book, Extreme Productivity:  Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours.

I enjoyed the article and agree with many of Pozen’s points but I found myself thinking mostly about (and relating to) his opening words.

When I held a position in corporate leadership, I too experienced the 5:00 shadow, as I “affectionately” refer to the veiled vision of my boss leaving her office and, in turn, leaving my own.  What does it say about office culture and more importantly, one’s own faith in their work product, work ethic, work style to feel the need to “stick around” until the boss leaves?

We’ve got to get over this — for our sanity and our professional faith in ourselves and our organizations!  Performance management processes and revenue targets and one’s own professional integrity are in place to hold us accountable for our work,   Boss and employee playing “cat and mouse” undermines that faith and as Pozen suggests, is not an accurate measure of our work productivity.

To that end, perhaps one of the best things we can do for ourselves and our organizations is take leave when the day is done and focus on other meaningful work that invites our attention.

By: Mimi Darmstadter, My Life’s Work: Coaching & Consulting, LLC

This blog was originally posted My Life’s Work website.


Mimi Darmstadter is the founder of the independent coaching and Human Resources consulting business, My Life’s Work — Coaching & Consulting LLC, where she serves as an executive coach and a seasoned leader in the Human Resources field (e.g. learning and performance) with over 20 years of experience, spanning government, non-profit and corporate environments.  Mimi’s coaching work and workshops emphasize new levels of self-awareness, skill, and behavior that her clients seek to build professional capacity in their leadership/executive roles and/or make desired shifts in their career identity.   Among Ms. Darmstadter’s interests and areas of expertise are emotional intelligence, written/oral communication, diversity/inclusion, performance management, workforce engagement, presentation/platform skills, personal/professional “work” integration, stress management, and career planning and execution.

Mimi is also the facilitator of Her Corner groups in Bethesda, Capitol Hill and Rockville.

You can view her profile HERE.

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