Are You Housecatting?

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.  —Henry David Thoreau

M any years ago, I worked for a high growth company that had a very robust sales culture. Highly driven and highly paid, sales people were pushed hard to achieve sales goals and there was little organizational patience for bad sales days and no patience for bad sales months. Within that company, we had an expression for sales people who weren’t making their calls: we called them housecats. On the surface, the term described someone who would rather sit at home, or at their desk, and do just about anything other than the job at hand: making sales calls. Underneath, the expression suggested laziness, describing a person as a non-worker.

Housecatting might be defined as the art of work avoidance in the pursuit of a more leisurely state of being. The syndrome presents itself in all manner of situations: at home, at the office, in the car, maybe even in our relationships. It’s the “I don’t wanna” mode of existence as we exert ourselves toward procrastination and punt a moment of action down the field in favor of a moment of inaction.

Everyone is guilty of housecatting, we’re a nation of procrastinators and pursuers of leisure. Leisure isn’t bad, right? Of course we don’t need to be on 24/7 but the problem comes when our days begin to tip more toward the leisure side of existence and less toward the action side. Consider the people you see at work. Scanning your list, you can quickly separate the workers from those who tend to housecat, opting for the path of less effort more often than not.

As you consider those employees, you begin to realize that those who qualify as “workers” may be fewer and more exceptional than you ever imagined. A worker is someone who gets more done. She tackles tasks with energy and follows through. Workplace tension frequently occurs when the worker encounters the housecat, as their mismatched velocity creates friction.

Housecatting doesn’t just occur on the job. Some of us tend to housecat in a broader fashion in our own lives as we become spectators to a world moving around and past us. A profuse array of distractions makes this very easy as we spend dinners together but apart constantly checking our phones. Television has always provided dependable distraction but the dizzying volume of available programming in 2018 presents we housecatters with avenues of escape previously available only to astronauts – absolutely cosmic.

Sometimes we wake up to find ourselves sitting on the back of our couch looking through the window of our life at a world speeding by. That sense of time passing? It only moves faster as you mover further along on the journey. Moving from window to window atop the rarely changing furniture of our home, we see decades pass as we wait for the right moment to let ourselves out to chase activities and dreams which we aren’t sure were ours or something we saw on TV.

The right moments never come because they were there all along. The insidious thing about housecatting is that we let now slip away in favor of later. Now is the right moment. Housecats make wonderful spectators but we must always remember that we were made to participate.

Feeling stuck? Perhaps it’s the way the back of the couch has molded to the shape of your tail. Feeling tired and bored? Maybe it’s from your lengthy stare at the winding road from the front window. Feeling that you’re not lucky? Quite possibly, you’re content to sit waiting for something to come to you. Feeling uninspired? Maybe it’s from walking the same path, room to room, hoping you’ll find something different.

Are you housecatting? Of course you are – we all are to some degree. The key for us is to see it and exert our energies in a specific direction. With purpose. With hope. With a smile. A direction away from the litterbox and beyond that front window. Knowing that along the way, the comforts they offer will always be available but it is only beyond them that we thrive.

Did I mention that every day is game day? Don’t be a housecat. You are made for so much more.


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