Is it okay to be selfish at work? Pushing back against being prosocial.


We’re taught that, when it comes to work, we should focus on doing things for others.


We should be prosocial. We should donate our time, energy, and social capital in ways that give back to others and the organization at large.


Interestingly, this craze for prosocial behavior runs counter to what many experts are claiming is the key to success.


Stop taking meetings. Stop obsessing about returning emails. Instead, let the wait and focus on long-term, value-add, deep work.


So which is it?


My view is that, yes, it’s fine to be selfish. Dare I say, it’s your job to be selfish.


You need to get your deliverables done. When you do great work, you add value to your organization by making them more competitive.


Don’t get me wrong, you should also be a good colleague. That’s also part of your job.


And there’s also a benefit to being prosocial. In many cases, it’s the right thing to do. Plus, there’s also a selfish reason - it’s good for your well-being.

So go for it…but choose wisely.



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