It was just about dark when I took this photo, and this was the last bee I saw. Still working, still gathering, still doing her job. I had a great conversation with a bee keeper this week, and learned that any bee working outside the hive is a female bee. The male bees, or the drones, work only within the hive servicing the queen. So this little lady is working hard and will return soon to the hive. 

All too many times we work late and get the job done, not realizing who is watching. By the work ethic we exhibit we are influencing others. Staying late can serve many purposes. It helps you get ready for the next day. It helps you clear the day’s work and start the next day with a clean slate. Working late allows you to get things done while the world is quiet. It provides time to process and think new thoughts. Working late may also be an excuse to avoid spending time with others or deal with personal relationship issues. It can provide teh ‘appearnce’ or importance when it is more like a sign of inability. 

In some organizations working late is part of the culture. It is expected and understood. I once had a boss tell me that if I did not work late at least a couple nights a week I was not serious about my career. This was the same man who was having an extramarital affair with a woman in the office. I decided not to listen to his advice as his own work ethic and moral choices were not ones I would ever be able to support. 

When you work late your employees are watching, your colleagues are watching, your family is watching. You are sending messages to them all with every hour you put into your work. As they see you toil, do they understand why you are toiling away at such late hours? Does it inspire them or are they victims of your poor choices? There is diligence and there is avoidance. Which message are you sending? Next time you work late, be sure it is for the greater good not just to avoid something else. Your hive is watching.