Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Career = No Life?

Like I mentioned earlier, yesterday was yet another hectic day at work. Each day I get in by a certain time and the time I get out is open ended, which makes having a life and making plans after work harder than it should be. It's always "Will I get out on time?," "Will I have to cancel, reschedule, rush to make it?" I know this happens in other fields, but it's very much the nature of the journalism world. Deadlines are constantly set and missed, in turn affecting everything else down the line.

*Side note: I'm not complaining. I love being in this field and feel extremely lucky to have the opp to do what I do. This is more about how nowadays it's so easy to let your job become the center of your life so it's as if you're never off.

I went out with a friend last week who's also in journalism, but she's let her work practically become her whole life. She keeps crazy hours (crazy to me anyway) getting into her office early and leaving after 11 pm everyday. And guess what? There's always more work to be done. Turns out when we die, there will still be work pouring into that inbox. Go figure! I looked at her incredulously as she told me about all this work she left behind and how she should have come to the concert later to get some more if it done!


A red flag shot up in my head. At what point do we have to say, "Hold up (wait a minute)," take a good look at we're doing to ourselves and ask if it's too much? Many of us work ourselves to the ground, taking on even more without so much as a break. I'm guilty of it to a certain extent (because you won't see me being happy about staying at the office til 11 pm, and that has happened before). I completely understand that in order to get to where I want to be I need to do quite a bit of leg work to get there. My motivation to keep trudging through the hard days is the idea that it will all pay off in the end, but sometimes I have to try my best to leave work at the office and not carry it with me everywhere I go. That's right because it's not just to my apartment; I carry paperwork with me if I take the train, visit my mom, chill with friends so that if I have one minute to myself I can devote it to my career.

Insane isn't it? And it doesn't get better with time. In college, all-nighters would be routine and eating and taking care of Me would go by the wayside. Back then I thought, "I'm doing all this work now so I can get a job and have a set schedule." Wrong! We work more hours, take less vacation days, make more to spend more, get fatter, sicker, more depressed. Then we take meds just to get through the day.
Can't we just stop? Is there any way we can get to work, relax without our bosses breathing down our necks (and work better because we're not having anxiety attacks) and then leave it all behind when we walk out that door? Can we keep in mind that no matter what happens today tomorrow will give you another chance to get it done? That if a deadline isn't met, another will be set?

Now this isn't an invitation to slack off because clearly when things need to get done, they should. But when there's a mountain of work piling up on you, sometimes you have to look out for your well-being first. Many bosses want you to make them look good and will stretch you to your limits if you let them.

Either way, all I'm asking for is the chance to create a life outside of, apart from, having nothing to do with work. Is that too much? Or will I have to wait until I retire? What do you think?

Now I'm going to take my whole hour-long break because it's 3 PM and I've yet to eat lunch.


  1. Easy there missy!! You spend half your day at work writing blogs...

    But on a serious note, people should not let work become their lives. PERIOD!

  2. I can tell you one thing, we are at a stage in our lives where we are single and young, so companies expect us to devote massive hours to work.

    The truth is that we work hard now so later on when we hopefully start a family we can be in a better place career-wise and financially. The key word is a career, a job you punch in at a certain time and punch out at a certain time. A career needs an investment of time, you build a career but not a job.

    Should we work hard? Yes. But should we devote all our time to work? No. We should try our best to do a good job, but we need to remember that at the end of the day work and career won't make you 100% happy. There are lots of things needed in life for happiness, and we should devote equal time and effort to those, whether we have said things already or whether we are still looking for them.

  3. The challenge is finding a balance between getting your work done, proving yourself and paving your way toward a better position all the while enjoying the journey there.


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