Work Life Balance...and more?
Okay, it’s Tuesday afternoon, I haven’t blogged in a while, and I have some thoughts. Excuse the stream of consciousness here, but I’m going to try and at least outline these thoughts a bit. A few days ago, I asked my IG friends what’s been on your mind and what’s something we should be discussing. One of my favorite people I follow (@_dani.ali) sent in the idea of that all elusive work life balance. Yesterday on my way to work, I started crafting my thoughts on the topic. And then midway through the day, I saw this meme, and while I laughed at it at first, it also triggered some other negative thoughts for me so I needed to let it all out.
But first, before getting into all that, let’s talk a little about the idea of balance. I think the first thing to address here is that balance isn’t standard. There isn’t some exact equilibrium that everyone should be feeling at all times or a schedule that I or anyone can recommend without you being at the center of it. So if you are feeling out of balance, I’d say the first thing you have to do is pause and ask yourself what would bring you balance *right now*? Sit down and write out (it works wonders) what balance would look like for you on a general scale and on a day to day basis. I say day to day, but balance isn’t always repeatable so I think the actual key to finding any balance in your life is to check in with yourself every day. What is overwhelming you and what would help bring you to a better balance? It’s going to look different for everyone because we all have different things to balance, so we’re screwing ourselves if we start comparing to what other people are doing. They’re balancing the way that is either necessary or possible for them , so you have to check in with yourself and see what is necessary and possible for you.
And here’s the thing: if you’re struggling with work and “life” balance, I think you have your first clue: work should not be your life.
So here’s my thing: assess your goals. This is a major key I’ve learned recently and I don’t mean goals in the specific achievement type of way.
if you’re feeling unbalanced and overwhelmed with work, assess your goals:
Are you working for more money or more freedom?
What is the work you’re putting in supposed to get you?
If you’re working for the money to be able to have experiences or do things for yourself and people you care about, but aren’t able to actually take the time to do that, then what is it actually getting you?
I’m not going to go on and on about that because it hit me pretty hard when I heard that so I’ll just leave that there for you to ask yourself those questions.
Let me know what comes back for you? I’d love to talk to you about it!
Alright, so I don’t know why that particular picture above really stuck with me and in the age of laugh, share/keep scrolling, the fact that I’m still thinking about it made me want to write out all these thoughts, so here they are! Anyway, I made the joke on my story yesterday when I shared the picture about what kind of jobs people have that they think they can’t unexpectedly get fired from, but it’s more than that. My friend Molly and I talked this to death after I posted it because she immediately related to it and messaged me about how fucked up the idea that a job or even a careeeeeer is more important than the support system and relationships you build along the way. We’re taking this olddddd idea that it’s either romance or career and let’s face it, we’re past that point in this day and age where (almost) everyone fucking works, and if they don’t, it’s probably because they don’t want to or it doesn’t make sense for their life, not because they chose a man over a job. I think the conversation should definitely be shifted to the support we feel in our relationships and not pitting a relationship in general against a successful career. You can have relationships that are supportive of your career and you can have relationships that aren’t, but newsflash:
relationships aren’t the antithesis to a career.
And a career is not always more valuable than relationships, romantic or not. Personally, I don’t see this mindset as only referencing romantic relationships, but all relationships. All of our relationships affect the way we live our lives and of course, approach our careers, so know that throughout this whole post, I’m not only referring to your romantic situation.
So let’s break it down a little more: first, you are not guaranteed anything by putting more in to your career, you could get rewarded, but you could also get laid off for reasons outside of your control, or fired because of someone else’s personal feelings that have nothing to do with your work ethic, or outworked by someone else, or you could get sick and unable to work, or a million other things could happen that could put a stop or pause to your career.
Putting your all into the thing that makes you money may seem good on paper, but saying that it’s more valuable or that you’re guaranteed anything out of your hard work is an illusion. When did we get so individualistic that all that matters is our career? When did we get so scared of intimate rejection or abandonment that we think we can protect ourselves from those feelings with professional achievement? If there’s a lesson that I’ve learned lately it’s that we aren’t in control. We don’t get to say who leaves and who stays or what stays intact. Nothing is guaranteed, and anyone that knows me knows that you can’t come for my feminism, which is why I’ll repeat myself: relationships are not the antithesis to a career.
Your relationships should be your support system, they should be those people that challenge you and push you to your potential and celebrate your wins, and hold you up through your losses. Your relationships are what makes any of this life worth while because honestly, your career is just as likely to unexpectedly leave you and not reward you and give you insecurity and anxiety, but contrary to that last little picture of the series….no a career will not be there for you through the night and it won’t be there to hold you through any of the hard shit that life throws your way. When your friend or partner or family member lets you down, your career can distract you but that’s about all. But if you have a support system, you may actually have the ability to bounce back from a career low. You may have someone to help you through a stretch where you can’t work or you’re just unlucky in that sphere.
Oh and one more thing, I saw someone say something like oh well losing job or having a career change isn’t permanent because you can get new skills and get a new job!!!! Yo, that’s literally the same thing as saying that you can have a relationship end and then work on yourself to be able to have a better one in the future. Also refer back to my example of something can ~God forbid~ happen and you may not be able to work at all, just saying.
Honestly, the only thing that you can consistently put good work into and be guaranteed more security is yourself. Keep working on your career and your relationships and your hobbies and YOU will appreciate yourself and YOU won’t leave you when shit gets hard. You’ll be a better employee/boss, you’ll be a better partner, friend, family member, and YOU will like being with yourself. Work hard, pursue your passions and keep killing it, but make sure you’re valuing the relationships you’re building along the way because while nothing is permanent, having people you love in your life is actually what lasts, no matter which form it comes in and no matter how long each individual relationship lasts.