I want to continue discovering who I am. Hey I turn 50 this year it is about time. I had another bad week at work then was strongly encouraged to go in on Saturday (its year-end). While sitting in my office feeling miserable, I decided it is time I get serious about figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life.I had a similar experience this year. I am losing three vacation days I never got around to using, my boss expected me to work yesterday (Saturday), and told me I would work on Christmas Eve day (a company holiday) if he told me to do so. My co-worker who overheard this conversation thought my boss had been joking, but it left me feeling disgruntled and guilty for not working more. When I stumbled upon my post from last year I realized nothing has changed in a year and my work-life balance may actually be a little worse.
Here are a few of the work struggles I faced this year:
Making a "Big Mistake" at Work
SWG Coffee Social: Job Disillusionment
How not to Lose Your Cool While Your Manager Screams at You
I'm 50 Years Old and Still Can't Think on My Feet
I did have a couple of positive experiences:
How to Be More Confident at Work
Want to Motivate Your Employees? Appreciate them
And I attempted to make improvements:
Joining Classy Career Girl's Networking Challenge
"Be Strong!" Challenge
Why I am Cleaning My Desk
Be Strong Challenge: September Update
Unfortunately all of my challenges ended in failure:
I gave up on the Networking Challenge after I was stood up for an interview and received a couple of rejections. I am bringing this one back in 2013 with a new focus.
I have tendinitis in my elbow and had to stop doing push-ups. I am now experiencing so much pain I can barely lift a coffee pot. It is disappointing to accept the fact I will never have a strong upper body, but after hurting myself for the 4th time I think I have finally learnt my lesson. For 2013 I will listen to my body and stick with exercise routines my body can handle - Zumba and Turbo Kick.
Cleaning my desk:
Fail. I had a clean desk until I went on vacation in October. I came back to a mess and it has remained that way ever since. I have started a new routine - going in early which has helped. It is nice to be in before others are there to bother me and I am not nearly as tired as when I work late.
Stopping the snacking:
This is a fail. Once I am tired and under stress I lose all self-control and have actually gained five pounds since I went on vacation in October. All I can do is start eating better again in January.
In 2012 I did say no more often, but the things I said no to - spending time with friends, going to the gym and volunteering - are all things I enjoy and help contribute to my work-life balance.
What should I do?
Working too many hours has been my company's culture for over 50 years. My predecessor who retired after 35 years used to work both Saturdays and Sundays. She was widowed at a young age and needed to support her family of five. (She was also incredibly underpaid.) My boss has always worked too many hours and never uses all of his vacation time, so he expects his employees to do the same.
I was "networking" with a colleague who started her own business ten years ago. She feels her biggest career mistake was staying at a company too long. Once you earn a reputation with a company it is almost impossible to break out of it without leaving and starting over somewhere else. She earned the reputation (single with no children) as the employee who was available to travel and spent the majority of her time on the road. By starting her business she can now set her own schedule and choose the clients she wants to work for. She wishes she would have had the courage to start her business two years earlier than she did. She suggests I start over at a new company that has a culture more in tuned to work-life balance.
I am still not too keen on continuing to work in accounting, but for the time being it does pay the bills. I do know I will be bringing back my "Be Strong!" Challenge in 2013 with a vengeance. Other than that I am pretty sure I will still be working too many hours at my current company next year at this time.
How do you maintain a work-life balance? Do you have any suggestions for me?
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