Get ahead. Work hard. You have to work over 50 hours a week to be successful. You can’t rest too much or you’ll fall behind. All business owners work six days a week.
I don’t know about you, but just reading those statements made me feel tired.
Let’s be real: there are plenty of people who don’t work hard. There are plenty of people who don’t make an effort.
But I’m not here to talk about them.
(Honestly, if you’re reading my blog, you’re probably not one of those people. If you are, you’re desperately lost. I mean, welcome, but I’m sorry; you’re probably not going to like it much here.)
There’s an obsession with work in our culture today.
There’s a huge focus on working hard, long work weeks. As if you’re never going to make it anywhere without that. As if you’re not worth anything without that.
I believe this lie as much as the next person.
Having one day where I’m not working on a project or at work feels like a day wasted. A day spent inside, enjoying a cup of tea, a good book or maybe a fun movie makes me feel guilty.
I can’t not be productive. My culture doesn’t let me. And my own inward feelings don’t let me. I always have to be working, be productive.
This is probably something I will struggle with for the rest of my life. But I’m starting to feel the toll it has on my mental and emotional health.
I wear myself out to work hard. I never stop. I don’t let myself do it. And then when I slip up — because I believe it’s a slip up — and do take a break, I slip into feelings of worthlessness.
I could probably come up with a thousand reasons for why I’m like this outside of our culture. How I was raised, my own mental problems… Whatever. That doesn’t matter right now.
What I’m realizing is that no matter how hard I work, I can never escape myself.
I’m stuck with myself forever. My thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my body. All these things are things I can never get rid of. They may change, age and mature as I get older and discover more about this life, but I will never escape them.
But do you know what won’t last forever?
My current job.
The building where I work.
The tasks I complete at work each day.
I’m not going to be where I am forever. Things are going to change. While I should be working hard and doing well where I’m at, there’s something way more important than my career:
If I’m dead on the inside, my career will suffer. No matter what. My career cannot succeed if I’m not taking care of myself first.
Take care of your personal life before you worry about the professional. Mental health is especially important when relating to the workplace. If you’re not doing okay in your personal life, you’re not going to be able to do your best when you’re at work. Your career is important, but not as important as you.
If you’re dying on the inside, then you’re never going to make it anywhere. And even if you do, you won’t be happy and it won’t matter or mean anything. Let me say it again: Your career is important, but not as important as you.
Bright, cheerful yellow on the outside, but actually rotting on the inside. This is how I can be if I’m not careful.
Are you taking care of yourself? Or are you dead? How is that affecting your career?
Take a minute to step back and assess how you’re doing. Be honest.
Are you okay?