“If I could have only spent another day at the office” – a headstone engraving you will not see
Photo: Son Max at his grandma’s final resting place – she loved the outdoors and good old Cape Vincent NY, a quiet and quaint little village at the St Lawrence river
Can you imagine for this sentence to be engraved on your headstone? I did not think so. Why do I mention this? The on the job martyrdom and workaholicism appears to be on the rise. You tend to work more jobs and longer hours than ever. No wonder there are so few smiling and happy people surrounding you.
Often you tell yourself that this is the way it has to be. Most often it is the Angst of losing your job if you do not deliver results your boss, or company needs and wants. Other times you feel better about yourself because you think that you are enjoying a greater job security because you handle many different projects.
Yet you and your health suffer. Our body and spirit needs rest and too much stress is bad at work and at home. It is facts that early Monday mornings have by far the highest heart attack rates over other weekdays and that is largely due to the fact that our brains get all stressed out over having to get prepped for work.
While this is bad enough (you only have one body) the same time your organization may rely on you more and more for you to be there when needed. Problem is we all do eventually take a vacation, or get sick from time to time. Your organization would be so much better off if you would take that time off. Other people – mainly your manager – get to know what you do because no one else will pick up where you leave off. On the positive side is that an organization can use this occasion cross-training other team members to what you do. That is more sustainable for both parties.
Even if you enjoy work a lot and working with your team is a boat load of fun remind yourself that taking a break or vacation is important for another reason. Meeting different people and visiting different states or countries will broaden your horizon and also increase your personal network of connections. New and different ideas and concepts are refreshing. Sometimes is merely the solitude and much calmer thinking that you need to have clearer thoughts. Taking a break is awesome for body and your mental health. That is not something you will be able to get from hanging out at the same work place for year after year.
So you think that you cannot make a change? I thought so too until I faced having to balance work, family, and evening college work leading up to a dual bachelor’s degree. I was not about to short change family and I definitely wanted to do my best in college. I had to figure out how to let go of the additional 3-4 hours of work at home in the evening after work such that I could do homework instead. I prioritized my work and found out that I could cut this much work from my schedule: part of it was not as important as I thought, another great portion were things that I could shift and even delegate. The rest came down to planning and scheduling ahead. It worked! You can do the same, I am certain of it.
Living a balanced life that is well rounded and diverse is what we human thrive on. Choose diversity and balance; make use of any opportunity to experience different settings, locations, cultures, and people. Live life to the fullest. I have chosen that and when the time comes to move on I am leaning toward “Offline” as my headstone engraving – but it will not regret not having spent more time at the office.