By Mohan Karulkar: Work, when you can get it, is a great thing. It's an outlet for our talents and education. It's a connection to peers, mentors, and disciples. Hopefully, it pays the bills. In the very least, it translates into some amount of bacon. And whether it's at a genuine workplace, or at a table at Starbucks, we spend a whole lot of time Taking Care of Business.

You know what sucks, though? When we're not Taking Care of Business (and workin' overtime), there's a pretty good chance we're worrying about "business." Deadlines, networking, job security. Resumes, interviews, references. Bosses, team members, TPS reports. Face it: we let ourselves get wound up pretty tight sometimes.

And here's something I've learned over my many (5) years of working: no one is going to unwind you. If anything, people will continue to spin you round until you either snap from the pressure or unwind yourself. Why? Because you don't work with mind readers (unless you do, in which case they're faking).

People can tell when you're having a bad day, or when you're not feeling well, or even when "the pressure is getting to you." But most people will never know that you suffer from a fundamental overload of responsibilities. They'll never know that you don't enjoy time with your family because you're thinking about work. They'll never know you leave your vacation days unused because there's just too much to do.

You know what else sucks?  That after being overloaded at work, we then take on a bunch of other stuff to sweeten the deal.  Stuff at church.  Stuff at our kid's school.  Stuff online. Stuff in our garage. Stuff in our ...

What are we doing??  Other than dying slow frantic deaths?

The fact is, many of us take on too much, and then we suffer silently.  We're afraid to acknowledge what's going on, let alone tell anyone. And because of that, no one knows what we're going through.

So what should we do?  Stop suffering silently.

  1. Lose the idea that the more we do, the better we are.
  2. Lose the idea that only weak people need grace.

We all need grace. But no one knows, remember?  So ask. Get comfortable with asking for help, or negotiating new deadlines, or cancelling something, or saying "no" to begin with. Most people are way more gracious and forgiving than we give them credit for.

And yes, I know this falls right in the "easier said than done" category.  But you have to start somewhere, right?  Maybe identify:

  • 1 thing you can stop doing.
  • 1 thing you can ask for help with.
  • 1 thing you can postpone.

If you just ask, I have a feeling there's a lot of grace out there.

Share your stories of overloaded lives and TPS reports below.  How have you found grace in these situations?  What were your bullet points?