Great post on People Pleasing from HBR written by Elizabeth Grace Saunders, posted on LifeHacker (of course!).
In some jobs, immediate responsiveness comes with the territory (just think of fire fighters). In others a quick reply is preferable, such as with customer service reps or publicists. But in many other work situations, this cycle of responsiveness leads to neglect of the most important activities. Either they don’t happen at all, or you end up filling your nights and weekends doing your “real” work with the last fumes of energy you can summon.
The “training” of colleagues and managers starts early, and once an unhealthy cycle is established, it can be so hard to walk it back. Also, I want to say that this is an area of work in which office layout and spacial relationships between colleagues are crucial to establishing healthy interactions. I didn’t believe in that stuff, until I experienced it for myself. Now I am a firm believer in establishing physical and mental/emotional boundaries at work.
However, this is not an invitation to be lazy:
Speaking of balance, if you’re never helpful, always insistent on having your way, never wanting to go the extra mile, this article doesn’t apply to you either. It’s good to work as a team, to help others, and to give as much or more than you take. What I outline below applies to those who work themselves like crazy and are feeling exhausted, resentful, and frustrated because they’re not making headway on their own goals.