HALT Manic Mondays at Work


80% of success is showing up.

                                                                                                         – Woody Allen

I’ve been an HR practitioner twice as long as my tenure as Noah’s mother.  So yes, I’m often guilty of front-loading my parenting to ensure Noah’s success in whatever career (Chef / Restauranteur or Video Game Mogul at the moment) that he chooses.

With Noah, the basic blocking-and-tackling of teaching him the commitment of showing up is fairly easy.  On school nights, especially Sunday nights, his bedtime is a hard-stop of 9:30 PM, no matter how well he makes his case to the contrary.  On Monday mornings, if he’s not already awake, he must extricate himself from bed by 6:30 AM to be ready at the bus stop by 7:30 AM.  (And yes:  he’s wide awake by 6 AM on weekend mornings on his own. Sigh.)

On those occasionally difficult mornings when he resists and growls at us like a rabid squirrel and hides under blankets all over the house, Joel and I consistently move Noah along, instruct him to cease and desist the PITA behavior and reinforce his responsibility to stick to his schedule, whether it’s getting himself ready for the bus stop, practicing his violin or completing his homework.  His future employer (or, if he goes into business for himself, his future employees) will thank us one day.

Noah’s newest challenge linked to the milestone of turning 10 years of age is to start managing these tasks himself so Joel and I can eventually be relieved of our nagging duties.  (Well, you know I’m an eternal optimist.)

It is my parenting experience that is gradually eroding my already minimal tolerance for adults less able than my 10 year-old son to manage themselves similarly in preparation for the work week / work day.  I’m not your attendance mother, and now, more than ever, I don’t want to be your attendance hall monitor.

Calling in sick and/or being late consistently on Mondays is a worn-out workplace cliche’.  At minimum, you’re in danger of violating your workplace attendance policy and eventually getting fired. Or suspected of having too much fun over the weekend to drag yourself responsibly into work.  Most importantly, it damages your reputation in that you’re eventually labeled as unreliable and therefore expendable.   Which is not the type of workplace attention you seek.

So do us all a favor:  keep your HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) needs front and center on your radar the night before a work day.  Think of them as base Maslow’s hierarchy of success needs that are well within your control to manage.

Some tips on consistently showing up physically to the workplace are obvious but often ignored:

  • Get enough sleep so you can wake up on time (or at all);
  • Cut off your alcohol consumption to ensure at least 10 alcohol-free hours before work, if not more (Sober and chipper does start a Monday off right);
  • Strive to eat well and exercise;
  • If you’re angry and/or lonely, get support from your friends, family or a professional or two.  Not in your workplace.  Don’t Mess Your Nest.

Now, let’s talk about those of you who do drag yourselves to work in spite of a raging case of HALT.   Especially on Monday mornings, operating on 3 hours of sleep, an unresolved fight with your spouse / ex-spouse, a raging hangover and a queasy, empty stomach:  do us all and yourself another favor:  don’t inflict it on us.  While you may be present physically, you are entirely absent mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And that is most certainly not a recipe for career success.  The best thing you can do for your reputation and out of respect for the rest of your workplace team when you cannot or will not manage your HALT is to keep a low profile and keep your mouth shut.  No one deserves the detritus of your mismanaged HALT, including you.

Sweet dreams for a successful week!

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