Why You Need to Have a Life Outside of Work
Since I graduated from college in 2010, I have thrown myself into starting my career. I work as a legal assistant full-time, while working a few part-time jobs nights and weekends while also being a freelance journalism. I’ve also become involved in several professional organizations and I kept up on reading the latest career advice books. It had gotten to the point where I had become obsessed with my next career conquest, working extra hours and doing anything I can to get ahead. Somewhere in the midst of “leaning in” and trying to advance and better myself, I forgot about one important person: me! I realized I needed a breather. I was exhausted and fatigued. It was affecting my mood. I had hardly any social life. Most importantly, I was unhappy.
The majority of my motivation to work so much came from a decision I made several months ago to move back home with my mom and siblings. I was completely devastated at the decision but knew it was necessary.
Once I was back home, I threw myself into work, even taking on an additional part-time job (I already had a full-time position and weekend job) so that I could pay off some debts and save to move out again. I soon discovered, however, that this new lifestyle would eventually creep up on if I didn’t slow down. But I also wrestled with the fact that I just liked working more than a full-time job. The security of extra income to fall back on just made sense to me.
However, something had to give. I decided to cut back my time at my part-time jobs. Yes, that would mean less money. But my mind and body were thrilled for the extra downtime. I’m starting to accept more invitation for happy hour drinks after work (“girlfriend time” is always the best) and weekend dinner parties. I’m now trying to schedule “me” time. (I’m struggling with that). So far, I’ve managed to fit in a few visits to the nail salon and recently, a massage, (which I must tell you, was heavenly). In the next few months, I plan to get more massages and possibly use a couple of my vacation days to relax, maybe go out of town.
If you are like me, you probably tend to be a bit of a workaholic. Don’t let your job and all that it entails take over your life. Don’t become obsessed with career progression. It will come in its own time. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to relax. My life outside of my job(s) isn’t all about relaxing, though. I also plan to use it for other things I enjoy, such as having a fuller share in my religious activities, charities and possibly taking a gym class of some sort. I’ve decided not to let my career crowd out my life anymore. Although a significant portion of my happiness comes from my daily occupation, taking a more balanced approach has given me peace of mind and a better outlook on life.