Corporate and professional world is cruel and we all have grueling experience of horrible stuff at work. Be it a terrible supervisor, beating the deadline, or horrendous co-workers, we all had some experiences that we would consider as punishments. Given this fact, many would still choose to prioritize work over personal life.
Some people made the mistake of living to work. That included me.
Working at a multinational company at such a young age put a considerable weight on my shoulders. I had to prove that I was worthy of the job even if I were a newbie. I agreed to push myself to the limits. For a few months I committed myself to overtime (sometimes overnight) work just to impress.
Work was like a partner who was so clingy that it stalked me after my shift and ran after me during the weekends.. And so things went on for more than a year and a half. During those times I began to meet people who I would consider friends. As my social network expanded, so did my career prospects. After a steamy and one-sided love affair with my work, I was offered a promotion that I could not refuse. After all, at 21, it was quite an achievement to be given a promotion.
I thought my affair with my work would stop but I was wrong. I was given more responsibilities: managing the team, doing technical stuff, beating the deadlines, writing reports, attending meetings, hiring people, and sorting out behavioral problems. And so I was really feeling the weight of all these things driving me to the ground and I was drowning in a turbulent sea of papers, reports, and emails. My face spelled out stress. It was then that a lot of kind words reached me that there was more to life than work.
Of course I was glad as people would tell me “Thank you for this great output” or “Thanks for a very quick execution!” Some would say “Thanks for putting in extra work on this” and it was a great experience to receive such positive feedback. But more amazing words were to come my way.
Once I stayed late at work and some of my friends would pass by and say, “Come on, man! You’re working too much!” Some other would say “Hey mate, relax a bit, let’s grab some coffee and talk for a bit!” My overseas counterparts were very caring all the same. Some would send a message to me online and tell me “It’s already late, you have to go home” or “Don’t push yourself too hard. You’re doing fine.” Most of the time my supervisor would tell me “Go to bed now!” whenever she asks me a question and I reply late at night. But maybe the best words that I got were this: Don’t get tired in your work. You’re already working too much, I don’t know how you do it! Yes, it’s good to work, but we work to live.”
We work to live. That’s cliché but it is something that we must all remember. It is good to have work surely, but put everything on it and our personal life will suffer. More than missing good movies, we will be missing great times with friends and family. We will start to miss our commitments: personal, spiritual, and social. We will be consumed by a never-ending cycle called work.
We work to enjoy life. That’s the most important thing.