Happiness and contentment in your life is heavily dependent on your work-life balance. There are some lucky ones who have the amazing opportunity to work from home and as a result, there is no morning or evening commute. Once the work day comes to a close, they turn off their computer and walk away. I applaud this group of people for working towards this and achieving it, because it takes an abundance of time, patience, and hard work.
For most of us, there is an 8-10 hour work day that involves additional time put toward driving to and from your workplace, resulting in a 12-hour period devoted 100% to our employer. Our group is also a very hard-working one and we are committing much more time to our work than our family at this point. This is the breaking point that separates us into two different smaller groups, one being those who are in love with their career, and the other being those who resent their work.
I am a firm believer that we can all become a part of the first group when we are in the appropriate line of work.
Maybe you are unsure of where you stand, but chances are you just need to recognize your location on this spectrum. These are sure-fire signs that you are in the second group.
You truly dread going to work every day
Of course, most of us despise waking up early. (which I did not expect, as y’all know) Most of us would rather go kayaking, shopping, or watch TV than that morning commute. But what I am talking about is the absolute dread that fills your chest whenever Sunday is coming to a close and you begin thinking about your upcoming week.
It seems that the American perspective on working and career tells us that everyone feels this way, and it is completely normal.
Everyone hates work, and everyone would rather be violently ill than have to go in on Monday.
That simply isn’t true. If you’d rather be having fun than work; that’s normal. If you’d rather do literally anything; that’s not okay.
You begin to lose compassion and patience for your clients and co-workers
I have worked in a job where I let it get to this point. I think a lot of us have. I had gotten exhausted and became insensitive to their needs, and I felt overwhelmed. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else.
Now you are allowed to have a bad day where you don’t feel like taking on the world. If you feel like you are losing compassion for those around you as a result of your dissatisfaction, consider taking some time off to re-collect and focus on your well-being.
Once you are taking your days off and you have had time to relax, begin to think about whether or not you are about to walk back into this same place and begin to harbor these same feelings. If you determine that it isn’t a good fit and you aren’t in a financial place to quit your job, then definitely do not do that. But begin looking for another. You’ll move on quickly and comfortably.
You’ve forgotten your dreams
For everyone, this doesn’t mean it is a career goal that is your dream. For me, my ultimate dream come true is to have a child. For my husband, his dream is to run his own business. For my sister, it is to have a happy family. For some of my friends, this means continuing to climb the corporate ladder. I’m happy that everyone has different ideas of their dream come true, because if we all had the same goals then it would become less achievable.
But if you’re like myself or my sister, and you are putting starting a family on the back burner in order to make time for work, then you may be there.
If you’re like one of my good friends, and you begin to get a bad taste about career aspirations that once made your mouth water, then you may be there.
You’ve began to avoid your favorite past-times
When someone begins to feel overwhelmed and “over it,” they may experience exhaustion. Or they may turn to alcohol to make themselves to relax until their next work day.
You should never feel so rushed and strapped for time that you stop doing what you love, whether that’s hiking, exercising, writing music, photography; the list goes on.
It is incredibly difficult to make a career out of what we love, and realistically, many of us won’t have that opportunity. But you shouldn’t have to give them up, and most likely you don’t have to. It’s feeling like you have to that is the problem.
And maybe you’ve chosen the right career; you don’t want to start resenting it.
This goes for commitments to your boss, co-workers, clients, employees, everyone. This is a quick way to begin hating what you do because you may make going further beyond the call of duty a habit.
It may begin as taking on additional conference calls on occasion. Then maybe you work over-time every Friday so that you’re co-worker can meet a separate obligation. And finally you’re giving your personal cell-phone number to your clients so that they can reach you at any time. Now you are in a habit of being the go-to girl, or the yes-man. This may be an attractive trait to others, but when you begin feeling taken for granted and as though you don’t receive adequate time off, it is a problem.
With very limited exception. I understand that there are times when it is absolutely necessary, like when you’re conducting an audit or a physical inventory count. But this does not need to be a regular occurrence. There are five days in the week, and eight hours in the day for you to complete your work. If you feel the need to consistently work past this, you are likely creeping back into my previous point which is over-promising.
Don’t take work calls or e-mails whenever you’re off
If I had a fantastic sales week, I may have checked for an “atta-girl” e-mail over the weekend. I think we’re all guilty of wanting to peek and see if someone is trying to correspond with us. But this can be a slippery slope, because once you see a couple of e-mails, you may decide to respond “really quickly.” But then you want to check back in an hour to see if they’ve replied and needed anything from you.
And by the end of your Saturday, you’ve let hours slip by responding and reading e-mails, answering calls, and researching things for work that could have easily waited until Monday.
How do you manage your work-life balance? Have y’all ever faced these challenges or had to make a hard decision regarding your career?