I was reading this article from Forbes about employee burn out and I was like “Yep, that’s me. Check, check, and check”. Growing up as a child of Chinese immigrants, a proper work ethic was often considered more important than breathing. My dad, in his broken English, would say things like “If you don’t work hard always, no job for you. No job for you, no money, no breathing“.
I took it to heart and carried it with me all through my schooling and professional life. It was a blessing and a curse. I worked hard and I was always seen as dependable and professional, but it left me out of work social situations I desperately wanted to be a part of. Lonely lunches at my desk became a fixture for me, too. Looking back, I was afraid to leave early (meaning on time) or say no to tasks assigned to me from different departments. I have a voice and a brain, but it rarely got used.
Right now, I’m burned out at work. It took a week-long break over the holiday season for me to realize this. Now that January is almost over, I’ve adopted an “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK” attitude and it shows. I get the Sunday Blues now because I know Monday is in fighting mode and ready to give me the old one-two punch to the head. I find myself strategizing ways to delay going back to work even by one more day. When I do show up at work, I no longer arrive before everybody else or leave after everybody else has gone home. Work that other people wanted me to do for them will get done eventually, but on my time, not theirs.
Which is great, right?
This new found attitude has worried me at times because I definitely don’t want to get fired for appearing to be slacking. I love working and working hard to accomplish my goals, but I still need to figure out the elusive unicorn that is a healthy work-life balance for myself and to not let other people take advantage of me for their own benefit.