When every day is groundhog day

February 2nd marks Groundhog Day. Every year since 1840, on this date, Punxsutawney Phil, an American groundhog, emerges from its burrow in Philadelphia. If it sees its shadow, due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. This is a long-standing North American tradition.

The comedy movie Groundhog Day was released in 1993 and it tells the story of a a cynical television weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive the same day, February 2nd, repeatedly.

So ... if you turn up day after day to meaningless work and nothing ever changes then you are caught in a similar time loop.- what in the world are you doing there?

I've often wondered about how much time we spend at work NOT actually doing the job we are meant to?

I reckon there are a lot of people who spend LESS than 50% of their time on their PRIMARY job responsibilities. Like a vortex, they get sucked into all sorts of activities of the distracting kind.

These employees turn up, go home, wake up and do it all over again. Like Groundhog Day.

When you work in a team (and most jobs are team-based) no job is perfect because people aren’t perfect. There will be times you’ll need to eat a s*** sandwich. That's life.

We can cop this, but if you aggregate all the pointless things people do every day - some are being paid $ to do essentially nothing:

  1. Read their email

  2. Administration tasks

  3. Attend useless meetings

  4. Deal with interruptions


Here's some examples of pointless jobs, that have a "groundhog"feel about them:

  • Teachers "managing" helicopter parents

  • EAs covering up and making their bad bosses look good

  • Admin clerks inputting paper time-sheets

  • IT Support fixing recurring failed systems

  • Project managers ticking boxes on clipboards

Everyone secretly wishes this rubbish would go away.

Look around you.

No need to hire expensive efficiency or management consultants. Really?

Just ask people around you about the pointless things they do every day.

And just one more thing, if you were to walk outside - will you cast a shadow?