Monday, August 11, 2008

Time Bounds

I've been working really hard (long hours) in my job lately. I'm not afraid of working hard; in fact, it's something I do well. But I've come to learn that when working hard interferes with my personal life, I get very unhappy with the job. In fact, it almost caused me to leave the company more than once.

Lately, too many biz trips, late meetings and early starts, and weekend "just a few hours" have placed me in the position of being grumpy toward my job. I snapped at my boss last week. That's when I know I need to reassess and stake my claim over my life.

I really enjoy my work (educational writing), and I get intrinsic reward from it. At the same time, I'm long past my early days of career ambition. These days, I want to do a good job at work, but it's imperative that I have my work life contained in a manageable box that does not continually erode time away from the rest of my life.

My ability to hold true to this desire ebbs and flows, but as I mentioned, it's been on a downward spin lately. And so, today, I began to take back control. I had lunch with a girlfriend at the Chandler House Tea Room. We chatted about family, friends - and said almost nothing about work. It was fantastic and refreshing! And I came back to work and got a lot done. I'm a happier employee, which makes me a more productive employee. And here's the key point - it's up to me to protect my time. The company won't do that for me. Sounds easy, but it took me a loooong time to learn that lesson.

10 comments:

Linda said...

I learned a long time ago that I must take care of myself because no one else will. (This is similar to your thoughts on work time/personal time.) We know it, but we tend to forget and just have to remind ourselves every once in a while! I'm glad you are feeling better about everything.

Allison said...

Amen, sister! Somebody once said to me (about work) that "nobody takes care of you like you do." Isn't that the truth?

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for the introduction to the Chandler House! It's nice to have a place like that so close to home. I'm glad our afternoon gave you the time away from work that you needed. I always enjoy your company!

Denise at Uniquely Tea said...

Good on you, Stephanie. The younger you are when you learn this lesson, the better! There are thousands of ways - big and small - for women to take care of themselves. In my life, my relationships with a few special girlfriends has made all the difference in the world.

Alice said...

I'm sure you know the old saw about on our deathbeds no one ever regrets not spending more time at work. It is good that you are able to make a balance between your career and your personal life.

Jason said...

You!...? You snapped at someone? That's hard to imagine. I'm glad you were able to "unplug" and enjoy time with a friend. We all need to just breathe sometimes, don't we?

Marilyn Miller, the Marmalady said...

Not everyone learns that lesson; so good for you. I am glad you are learning to take care of yourself.

Joyce said...

Hear, hear, I am with you on this Steph.
Sometimes we have to do that...certain seasons require "more" of us than others..but for the most part....
None of us really want to
"Sell our souls to the company store"...which is exactly what the company wants....but it somehow just "happens" along the way at times. I hate that.

I'm glad you are re-focused and refreshing yourself.
Finding fulfillment in what stretches and moves you the most is important.
For not only you but for others...Life is short....be happy.
Hang in there....
Joyce

Jennifer said...

Oh dear...now I feel a little guilty! Stay strong, Steph, and manage those expectations. "They" will take as much as you will give and will never stop asking for more. Sending you thoughts of balance...

VeeTea said...

It's wonderful that you're finding ways to get away from work and relax! It can be a hard balance to strike. As someone who is self employed, I have to be VERY active about that, I guess because I can only blame my boss for it. :)