I have a problem. It’s called work. No, I’m not employed (yet) beyond the means of these 4 walls, (the blogs, the ever-mentioned “Book” and my volunteer work and constant learning). Let me explain…
Way back before I was laid off, I was what you would consider a “worker bee”, you know the one that worked non-stop, and when I wasn’t working I was racking my brain with ideas on how to solve problems and streamline processes and make the world an all-around better place. Forget 9 to 5, I was a 9 to 5 to 12AM kind of worker. When the lay-offs started happening I began to see the things around me crumbling, so I worked even harder, picked up more slack, tried new ways to solve the lack of incoming work. Everything was my responsibility, in my mind and the stress and pressure started piling on. Then it happened, I was laid off. And a funny thing happened, I left that day knowing I was going to be ok, but mourning the loss of “my baby”, all the work I had put in, the processes, ideas, materials, all of it was left there.
If there is anything I regret about that time, it’s not that I could of worked any harder to solve the great issues of economic downturn, it’s that I didn’t spend enough time on me and my ventures. It’s a hard lesson to learn, we are not our work. At the end of the day, we aren’t our job title, or the things we put into our occupation, we’re what we make ourselves to be.
I believe in working hard, because it’s been instilled in me since birth, we’re Nebraskans, after all. But I also believe in balance now. No matter what our “occupation” is, those of us who classify as “worker bees” always have to be on caution that we might be overdoing it at the expense of something else. How many of those hours spent monitoring other people’s social media accounts and pondering their strategies off the clock could I have spent working on my own, gaining my own following? How many hours could I have spent working on my own book instead of devising ways to streamline plans in the office? Jobs come and go, and I believe we should do our absolute best at them, but we also need to work on ourselves, because we are not our jobs.
If you’re too much of a worker like me, take time to enjoy life, take time to grow and learn and relax. In whatever situation we’re in, it’s best to just stop and reflect. “Is what I’m doing accomplishing what I need it to, or do I need to redirect? Am I too over the top here or am I ok?”
Even in unemployment you can get stuck in a rut of working too much, trying to make the job happen, wallowing in self doubt and the circumstances of the situation. Just today as I was obsessively researching the places I wish to work and topics that surround their environment and I had to pull back. Doing your research on a position is one thing, but stacking the deck and worrying over it is another.
When the day is said and done, I’ve done quite a bit for being unemployed. The house always looks nice, meals are always on the table when Chris comes home (cue 1950′s music). But I have to remember to be careful not to put too much into it, to enjoy the freedom I have to get up at 8AM and work whenever I want and to walk the dog in the afternoon. Sure, I want to work on a team, change people’s lives and work on projects outside of my home, but at the same time, it’s nice to just step back and enjoy this season as it is.
So, moral of the story is: you aren’t your job. In fact jobs will come and go, you might even switch career paths (voluntarily or involuntarily) once , twice or even three times in your life, but you should always work on you and your purpose/ what you want to achieve in life.