Escaping the Rat Race for the Human Race

Racing to burnout

In today’s fast paced world, the rat race and burnout have become ubiquitous. As firms demand employees return to the office, the increased time commitments of the commute and our inability to draw boundaries now we’re so used to being always on is taking a toll. Strains on wellbeing are not just individual issues, they signify an organisational culture that requires transformation. 

One compelling avenue for this transformation is the adoption of AI tech that can augment and automate roles, alleviating some of the work-related stress.  If you happen to manage people, you don’t need me to tell you that less work-stress = enhanced employee satisfaction. Done right, AI has the potential to free up human capital (that’s us) for more creative and emotionally intelligent tasks. Done wrong, it has the potential to exacerbate inequality, and amplify the worries of the daily grind to a point where we disengage entirely. 

So considering how much fear there is about AI, how can we experiment with making our lives easier, more engaging, and less draining without freaking out that the machines are coming for our jobs? 

"I really miss my London office commute." Said no-one, ever.

The problem with the rat race is that even when you win, you're still a rat.

Upskill thyself 

We talked last month about the benefits of continuous learning. Assuming you’re planning on working for the next decade or so (and most of our High Fivers are Gen-X or Millenial, so it’s a safe assumption), then this isn’t just about benefits, it’s about survival of the fittest. 

If you currently work in a role that is repetitive, has a lot of mundane tasks that may frustrate you but keep you busy, then chances are a lot of that is going to be automated over the next 2-3 years. On the one hand that scares people, as it feels like a threat to job security, and we all suffer from loss aversion bias

On the other hand, just think if all the time you’ll have to focus more on what humans do best – create, engage and connect. AI has the potential to shift us from busyness to business. To get us out of the rate race as we know it and into the human race, with time to invest our energy into engaging and empathising with each other. 

To take the scare factor out, it’s worth experimenting with the ever developing tech to see how it can help you be the most effective version of you. Here you can find 6 ChatGPT prompts from the awesome team at BetterUp to enhance your productivity. 

As with all hype cycle tech there are a ton of tools built by clever people. One handy way of learning about these, and trends in the industry, is subscribing to the AI tool report. It’s a super quick daily read, and contains prompt guidance alongside new developments. 

It’s worth playing around with the OG ChatGPT from OpenAI to see what advice you can glean on prioritisation, how to draw boundaries, and of course, different lifestyle options once you’ve escaped the rat race. Finally, Bing Chat (powered by ChatGPT) is your friendly co-pilot for on the move, up to date advice and ideas. There is of course, an app for that

If you manage a team, or lead a business, it’s also critical to stay across the ethical use of AI and new technologies, ensuring we’re not building more bias into the system and the benefits are inclusive. Check out the 10 steps to more ethical AI here, or PWC’s Ethical AI: the 10 principles the world (mostly) agrees on. A key part is educating and upskilling our people. There’s a plethora of excellent and affordable resources out there, including courses from Coursera and Harvard

Whether we like it or not, change is always coming, and this tech means it’s coming faster than ever. I always find it fascinating that we’d rather keep doing things we don’t even like doing than embrace change, but that’s just human nature and status quo bias

The biggest risk here is that we procrastinate, especially those who are busy juggling work and home responsibilities, or those who don’t necessarily see this world as converging with their own. If only certain factions of society embrace AI, there’s the potential that we increase inequality and divides, rather than close them. AI won’t replace us, but the people who are using it will. So be those people, play around, and learn how to leverage the tools at our disposal.  

Luckily we’re also super adaptable when we want to be, we often just need to reframe our narrative to one of gain rather than loss. You’ll be gaining time. You’ll be gaining mental capacity. You’ll be gaining energy. The question then is what do you channel all of that into? How do you align your resources and focus with your own purpose? How do you work out what it is? Which I guess is a topic for the next High Five… 

Until next time take care, stay safe and be kind 🙌

As always if you have tips, tricks or feedback, share the love by contacting us. If you’ve been forwarded the High Five and want to sign up to your weekly pithy shot of piety subscribe here, and you can always join our growing community at LinkedIn Transform Perform 

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