Still looking for balance? What choices are you making about your life?
When I got my first job, I punched a clock, literally. We punched in and out. When the workday was over, I punched the clock and went home. Easy, breezy with no stress over where work ended and life began.
Fast forward to a few years later when I was in my career in the fashion industry. Working for JC Penney as a copywriter, I didn’t punch a clock. There was a sign-in sheet–and no pressure to work past my 7.5 hour day. Which was fine because I had zero interest in working overtime. I had a social life to live.
That was fine for a few years, until I changed careers and went into IT. At that point I was in the real corporate world (certainly much more corporate than my stint at JCPenney). In this world the clock had nothing to do with the length of the workday.
You’re on call? Then expect to be called at 3:00 am. Did something just blow up at 4:45 on a Friday? Then prepare to work until midnight to fix it. (And come in on Saturday if it’s still broken.) Did your manager just get an urgent request? Get ready to eat lunch and dinner at your desk. You’ll get a voucher for a cab ride home if you’re still here at 9:00 pm. There were times when I worked 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day for weeks.
For several years, I had no balance. I didn’t do it for the money- there was no overtime pay. And I sure didn’t get any boost on the career ladder. There are too many details to fit here, but I realized that it wasn’t worth staying on the treadmill. My health was suffering and being stressed out isn’t exactly a way to go through life.
Here’s the thing, life is always happening. And balance is more of a dream than a reality. We make choices. Some choices are healthier than others. We do the best we can, where we are.
Just keep in mind that if you are on the treadmill, at some point, you’ll want to get off. Or you’ll be forced off. So you might as be the one who decides what your priorities are.
Are you happy with your choices?
Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey