Viewpoint: Jim Cargill, Take the Time
By Jim Cargill, President and CEO of Central and Southwest Arkansas markets, Arvest Bank
This year will mark the end of my 37-year career at Arvest. I’m spending my last days thinking about the work life I’m leaving, the home life that lies ahead of me — and how I’ve balanced the two over the years. With four and a half weeks of paid time off to spend before my retirement, I’m wondering if I missed an opportunity to use it sooner, and to better benefit to me and my family.
Before I make the full-time transition from President to Pop, I’d like to leave you with this little tip: Take the time.
In most cases, a company expects a full-time employee to work 2,080 hours a year. For many of us, as we work to excel, impress and earn more responsibility and pay, giving only 2,080 hours is unfathomable. The downside is that we may not be aware of the mental and physical toll even a great job can take. When you have a job that you love, spending 80% of your time on work, 10% on your family and 10% on yourself may not always feel like a sacrifice. After all, many of us have close relationships at work, and our salaries do enrich our households.
As I look at the great benefits I have earned over the years, I am grateful, but I’m now mindful that I may have cut my family short. I could’ve been there more for them, for more games, more dinners, more field trips, more talks. I could’ve relied more on my incredible teammates to handle issues that for whatever reason, I felt were best handled by me. That practice alone would’ve eased my workload and freed time on my calendar that I could’ve used for something as simple as dinner or game night at home or just a stroll around the neighborhood with my wife.
I’ve been doing better with this and the growing trend of “quiet quitting.”
It doesn’t mean you quit doing your best work. It means you’re quitting the idea of needing to be available to your job 24/7 and the notion that to succeed, work must be your life. If we’re going to be successful balancing work and home life, we have to intentionally reclaim time of our own, and quiet quitting helps with that.
For example, I’ve decided that outside of an emergency situation, I’m not taking work calls or responding to emails after 6 p.m. If I have a thought about something that I want to accomplish the next day, I make a note, but I’m no longer texting my assistant at 1 a.m. I wait until our workday starts. And I’m taking my vacation time. In fact, I took a week off just before writing this article.
I know some of you may be thinking “Sure you can do that. You’re a CEO.”
If you’re feeling stressed or on the verge of burnout, have a conversation with your manager or mentor. Just recently, I’ve rehired several people who went to other organizations and discovered that the culture at the new company wasn’t what they’d hoped and their departure from Arvest could’ve been avoided by working with their managers to achieve the work/life they wanted.
These conversations are especially important since the pandemic tethered many of us more closely to our jobs as worked from home. A silver lining is that companies have been forced to be flexible – as much as each industry allows – if they want to remain competitive in the job market. Pre-pandemic, many managers scoffed at the idea of letting folks work from home, expecting productivity to tank, but research has shown the opposite.
The final point I want to make is about self-care, another topic that’s been front and center since the pandemic started. Many companies offer counseling services. For many years, I shied away and when I did finally use the service provided by Arvest, I kept it secret for a long time. But I can say from personal experience, it makes a difference.
By sharing this, I hope to inspire long-lasting change within our organization, which is already a great place to work. It’s never too late to make a change, and even though I’m at the end of my career, I hope my colleagues, family and friends have noticed the change in me.
Jim Cargill is President and CEO of Arvest Bank in Central and Southwest Arkansas, overseeing Arvest’s retail, consumer and commercial banking operations. Arvest was included in Forbes magazine’s 2022 Best-in-State Employers list. Cargill and his wife, Kathleen, reside in Little Rock and enjoy spending time with family. They have two adult children, Kelly and Ben, and two grandsons, Thomas and Charlie.
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