Seth Godin nailed it.

Seth’s daily blog is one of the very best out there, and his post last Sunday cuts right to the heart of one of the biggest problems with modern work culture. It’s a very short post, so I’ll simply reproduce it here.

There’s a common safe place: Being busy.

We’re supposed to give you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to the other, never pausing to catch your breath, and now you’re exhausted.

No points for busy.

Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters.

No points for busy.

I recently heard a podcast guest express a similar idea: Exhaustion has no value in the marketplace. No one wants to buy exhaustion—it’s worthless on its own. It’s not valuable.

You know what’s valuable?

  • That wonderful project you created, unbidden.
  • That responsibility you took off your boss's plate, freeing her up while augmenting your own skills.
  • That insightful policy tweak you suggested to HR.
  • All those people you helped (colleagues, clients, patients, students) when you could have simply smiled sadly, said, "I'm sorry, but that's not my job," and shown them the door.

All that stuff has value, and not just economic value.

So no points for busy, and no points for exhausted, either. Points, maybe, for what you did on the way.

Points for initiative, human connection, and meaningful work.