The H.R. Doctor Is In
When You Die, Your Inbox Will Still Be
great number of people take things too seriously at work and
at home. Their focus is limited and their perspective narrow.
They may lack a sense of humor, which signals trouble
maintaining any balance. They may feel that all planets orbit
around them and their issues. If they own a dog, they may find
that the dog growls at them.
HR Doctor often reminds such colleagues that when you die,
your inbox will still be full. It is not a fulfilling life to
be over-focused on one dimension, such as work only. When the
latter is the case, family will suffer, personal health will
suffer, interpersonal relationships will suffer. The impact of
neglecting these other dimensions may not be obvious on any
given day, and they may not appear for years.
course, it is important to take work or career or family very
seriously. It is important that the project due next week be
completed properly and on time. It is important that next
years budget be balanced and that work on the budget begins
several minutes after the adoption of the current years
However, the message of this
article is to take time to enjoy other dimensions of your
life - before that life is completed. Take time to
cultivate diverse interests, a broad perspective and a sense
of humor. Do work for charity and find hobbies, which make you
feel good, and make you a bit of an expert in a particular
area different than the one around which your career is
focused. That area might be music, art, history, nature or
science. There is no shortage of subjects to learn about. The
only shortage is the time available to learn (see the HR
Doctor article Learn as Though You were Going to Live
Forever at http://www.hrdr.net/).
There are some personal matters,
however, which should be the subject of an immediate outburst
of strong attention because these are very serious matters
which are very often neglected or ignored.
of these, a difficult subject indeed, is to think about your
own mortality. Have an up-to-date will to help the people who
will carry on after you by making the difficult decisions in
the immediate aftermath of your death a bit easier. The living
will provides guidance for those who love you about terribly
difficult subjects such as whether or not it is your wish to
have extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life.
Consider being an organ donor so your death may, ironically,
save another life or two.
Take steps now to ease the burden
on others by making long-term care arrangements and perhaps by
taking out long-term care insurance so that when your health
suffers greatly, your financial stability and that of your
family, built up over the years, will not also come crashing
down in a matter of months.
Perhaps take the time to write a
letter of final instructions, which will help your spouse or
your children act on important matters when you are no longer
able to do so. These may include funeral arrangements, burial
or cremation decisions, location of key records and
Take the time to write a personal
letter to each of your children and your spouse saying to them
in private correspondence, to be read after your death, what
you might never say to them personally and while you are
These are examples of matters,
completely different from any day-to-day work project, which
should be taken very seriously and acted upon
a sense, taking these steps and sparing those you love from
even greater grief is a wonderful gift indeed. Give this gift
to those you love even if they may not know you made these
arrangements until they read your final instruction
may recall the HR Doctor article entitled Applying the Pareto
Principle, which referred to the rule of the vital few. The
basic concept is that most things in life are trivial; few
things in life are vital. Ironically, taking steps now to
consider your own mortality is among those things that are
is taking the time to celebrate your achievements and those of
the people around you! This is much more fun than
contemplating ones own mortality and it is equally important!
Demonstrating your caring side, your humorous side and your
self-deprecating side accents your humanity for others to see.
This better side of you also adds to your inbox, but in a
much more positive way! Think about it over dinner with
someone you love!
HR Doctor hopes that your inbox will always be full, and that
you will be around to empty it regularly and watch it