Sunday, November 14, 2010

Career vs. Life Success

So I fell off of the simplifying train for a little bit last week.  After spending some much need downtime this weekend I've been able to pick out a few things that are drawing me back into the status quo.

One of those things I've realized is my job. Ok, I didn't JUST realize this, but it was pretty forefront in my mind this weekend.  I have the number 2 rated job in the world. That's right a job in academia.  Why is rated #2 you ask?  Because of it's flexibility.  My blessing and my curse.

Pros: This job is really flexible. I don't clock in or clock out.

Cons: This job is really flexible. I don't clock in or clock out.

You see often times I find myself praying, begging for a set schedule. That beautiful little LED illuminated time clock. It haunts my dreams.  With that clock I could leave work and never look back.  But no, for me their is no set schedule, no distinct lines between working and not.

A lot of it has to do with my personality, I'm a tad bit of a workaholic.

Okay my better half is laughing in the background as he reads this, so I better say I'm more than a tad bit of a workaholic.  He actually has banned me from starting my own business because he knows from that point on he will never see me again.

I know this about myself.  Admitted it in therapy and to all my family and friends.  I've worked really hard, specifically over the last 2 yrs, to try and balance work and life outside of work.  I've failed more times then I would like to count, but I've learned some things a long the way:

Take two 15 min breaks during the day.  A sad fact I found out was that only eight states mandate employers to allow employees a 15 minutes break for every 3.5 hrs worked. (I was glad to see my former home listed in the mix)  Most companies implement the short breaks into the day to increase employee efficiency.  Either way, I think some sort of break during the day is good for the soul and the lower back (if your tied to a desk chair all day).  Now in my current situation I make my own schedule and often times look up and realized I've missed most of the morning and lunch.  So this week I'm going to get up from my desk twice during the day and take a break.

Work 40 hrs a week.  I've realized this week I've been easily pulling 50+ hrs and didn't even notice. Well I did notice this weekend when I crashed and let myself realize how tired I was. So maybe work a set of hours this week that doesn't leave you utterly exhausted on your day off.

Take a lunch break away from the computer.  I can't insist on this enough.  I've talked about it numerous times. It would do wonders for your brain and your waistline. Studies show that people eat less when they are not distracted and actually taste their food.

I have to be honest and say how hard this is for me. All of these tips. Like most of you I work in an environment where there is ALWAYS something to do.  And if I'm not doing something work-related I'm thinking about it and feeling guilty. It's just hard to keep resisting the strong pull of our society.

A thought I had this weekend was "what is this all for?"  This constant battle within myself all comes down to how I'm defining success.  If it's tons of federal grant money, 15 yearly publications in top-notch journals, and a multi-million dollar research laboratory, then yes I need to be working 24/7.  But if I'm defining success as loving people with my time, having worthwhile relationships, and finding daily joy in life, then I could stand to cut back some.

Working 9 to 5,

"A hundred years from now who will care how successful we were or how comfortable our lives were? What will matter then is what we invested our time in."

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