Everyday I’m hustlin’ – Work/life balance
Work/life balance. I struggle with this in my own life. I love my job and my co-workers, but many days, by the time I get home, all I want to do is put on my “comfy pants”, close myself off to the world, drink a beer, and watch a heart warming episode of “Intervention” or “Hoarders”. And this becomes my life outside of work. Ugh.
For me, and for most folks I bet, work life is tightly woven into real life. Lots of my friends are people I met at work (and many times when we hang out, we talk about work). My job is typically one of the first things on my mind at the start of my day and at the end of my day. My job is a big part of my identity, and if I do well at work, I feel good about myself. I like to succeed, and get positive feedback…I get these needs met at work too.
BUT…then comes the feeling of burning out. I get easily frustrated, I get sick and tired of wearing a tie everyday, and the thought of attending another mind-numbing meeting makes me want to fake my own death and start a new life…someplace tropical. I find that, along with burn out, I’m lacking two things : 1. feeling like “old Ross” (the guy that loves music, cooking/burning food with friends, and brunches), and 2. inspiration.
Here are some of my ideas, and I think they can be extra helpful for those that have moved to a new city to start their career, and haven’t had the chance to meet a lot of non-work peeps.
This is critical for me. I find that if I can create an afternoon of looking at, reading, or listening to some kind of art, I get inspired. I remember when I lived in NYC, I’d grab the Village Voice to see what cool things were happening for free during the weekends. I would also check out the free/donation days of museums and visit during those times. One time in particular I remember visiting the Met, and spending a couple of hours walking around with my headphones on listening to Panda Bear …it was awesome! Also, I love design blogs like DesignSponge or pop culture/smarty blogs like BrainPickings. All of these ideas are super cheap or free, and can be done with friends or solo. Getting hyped on some good art always rejuvenates me (and gives me good ideas for work).
Love puppies? Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Passion for civil rights? Volunteer with the HRC or your local church. I admit, at first, the thought of spending more time “working” was not exhilarating for me…but you just feel so good after donating some of your time and talent. AND you meet some cool new friends that have similar interests. It is a win/win. As you decide how you want to donate your talent, think of things you naturally enjoy and that you are good at. God bless those Habitat for Humanity home builders, but spending the day in 90 degree heat hammering nails sounds miserable to me; I really enjoy working with folks one-on-one advising them or just listening to them, so volunteering for Hospice for a substance abuse rehab center would be a better fit for me.
Remember who you are and what makes you, you!
As an undergrad I studied acting, and I loved it! I have not acted in over 10 years. I miss it. I’ve decided that this summer I’m going to take an improv class, and I’m so excited. I feel like it is a step towards getting back to “old Ross”. Back in the day, when people listened to cassette tapes, I used to make mix tapes for my friends – I love to share music. I still make mixes for my pals…it is kind of an art form to me and it makes me feel more like myself. Also, schedule time to hang out with your friends, even if it is for a quick call. Connecting with your core buddies reminds you of who you are and what life is really all about (relationships).
The most important thing to remember is that you want your identity to be more than just your job. Think of yourself as a table – the more legs you have to stand on the stronger and safer you’ll be. If your a table standing on one leg (your job), and that gets kicked out from under you, it will be devastating (and you’ll find yourself on your ass). Create other legs for yourself, it makes for a happier life.