The term work life balance has been used for a long time to describe how much of your life you give to work. Looking back over most of my career my life was dominated by work.
The need to provide all the things that we are led to believe make us happy, the feeling to make people proud, ambition are all very much typical responses, however fear plays a huge part in my view. Fear of failing, fear of disappointing people, fear of not confirming to the norm, fear of judgement, fear of not having enough money to survive or give dependants a stable environment, fear of letting others down.
Some of the happiest people I know work a 40 week and once they finish they are done. No more thinking/worrying about work, their mind free to do what they want to. Hobbies, interests and quality time with loved ones.
I see people who work less, earn less, have fulfilling lives due to outside work activity.
I have worked in start-ups, with the dangling carrot of “doing well” if the company gets sold. Giving up the now for a promise of a “better”, more secure, future. The “doing well”, “being successful” typically measured in how much you earn, not how happy you are.
Making yourself ill, missing out on your life, to achieve the status of “doing well” is utterly ridiculous.
I want to ride and rebuild motorcycles. Travel. Go to gigs. Meet interesting people. I want to be able to speak Spanish, play guitar, learn to weld, build stuff, read lots of books, listen to loads of music while focusing on the music not thinking about work.
I find very little time to do the things that I really want to do.
We have had two resignations in the last 4 weeks from very senior roles. Reasons given, burn out and mental exhaustion. I don’t blame either of them. One is wealthy enough not to have to work. There other is a cornerstone in the company. Multi talented, mega smart and exceedingly hard working.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to do well, have an interesting job etc. however it is about balance. I have learnt this hard way. I am exhausted by work and find very little joy in it.
I am the only person who can change this, either by changing jobs or by changing how I view it.