IF we give 100 per cent, we will succeed – or at least that’s one of the motivational maxims that was instilled in us at school and when we entered the working world.
But Noel Gallagher and Fearne Cotton are two of the more famous names to have ditched that theory.
Noel says he only gives 75 per cent at gigs, while Fearne says she has started holding something back for herself, to stop getting anxiety.
Here, Lynsey Clarke and Rebecca Pascoe examine this and other workplace proverbs, while experts give their views on how valid they really are.
ALWAYS GIVE 100 PER CENT: Psychologist Professor Almuth McDowall, of Birkbeck, University of London, says: “Good work is about working smarter, not harder. We need thinking time to develop good ideas.”
And our bosses won’t thank us for pushing ourselves to our absolute limits either.
Elaine Owen, who is the director of online platform Women In Business and started her first company in 1994, says: “No one can give 100 per cent, 100 per cent of the time.
“You’ll end up burning yourself out, which will affect your productivity in the long run. Employers should realise that by offering their team relaxation, they can get better results.”
NEVER CRY AT WORK: Women are biologically hard-wired to cry more often than men. We have six times more prolactin, a hormone related to crying, and 41 per cent of us have cried during our careers.
Psychologist and broadcaster Emma Kenny says: “Emotions are not a thing you should ever be afraid of.
"If you need to cry at work, let yourself do so, because it is clinically proven to relax and calm you down. The catharsis ensures that you are not distracted by feelings such as frustration.”
Elaine adds: “When I started working 25 years ago this was definitely frowned upon, so I understand worrying about showing emotion. But emotion isn’t a bad thing.
Your skill set is important but so is your passion for the job and that comes from the same place as emotion.”
Always say yes
ALWAYS SAY YES: We often feel pressure to say yes to every opportunity or extra responsibility that comes our way.
But Elaine says: “Taking on too many responsibilities might be detrimental.
If your passion is for the job you do, then taking a promotion, perhaps into management, is going to take you away from the job you love.”
Professor McDowall adds: “Be your own negotiator and craft your role. Negotiating boundaries and saying no when too much is asked of you is a helpful skill to develop.”
DON’T BE A QUITTER: A generation ago, the aim was to get a secure job for life and quitting was unheard of. But the way we work is different now.
We have a gig economy for freelancers, portfolio careers — where you have multiple incomes — and many people now switch careers later in life.
Elaine says: “I don’t think anyone believes they’ll stay in the same company for their whole lifetime any more. Whatever you do after leaving a job, the important thing is never to stop learning, because that’s how you become successful.”
Professor McDowall adds: “Being trapped in a dead-end job is no good to anyone. Moving around to broaden your skills and social network can be a smart career move.”
NEVER PULL A SICKIE: You’ve probably heard people boast about how they’ve never had a day off sick, but do bosses really notice?
Elaine says: “It is a very common myth that you need to be seen at your desk. Most of that is in your head — no one will notice that you worked through your lunch, stayed late or never took a day off sick.
“At one of my businesses we offered employees a duvet day once a month, without judgment. It was important to us to show this support.”
Psychologist Emma adds that taking a day off when you are sick ensures you don’t burn out, adding: “It makes you a more productive member of staff.”
BE A TEAM PLAYER: Some people work better with others than on their own, but what if you’re an introvert or lone wolf?
Elaine says: “Being a team player has turned into a tick-box that employees have to say to employers, but what if you’re not? It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
“Perhaps your employers hold meetings where everyone should contribute ideas but this scenario could be intimidating to you and you work better if you can think of some ideas on your own.”
Emma adds: “Working as a member of a team can be productive, but sometimes going your own way can reap a host of rewards.”
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