Me: “Waah! I work too much!”
My friend: “Dude. I’m a medical resident, I wake up at 4am and don’t get back home until 7pm, at which point I go to bed. And I work most Saturdays.”
Me: “You win. Also, I’m never going to be a doctor.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dad: “How is work, Ashley?”
Me: “Good. Minus the part that I work all the freaking time.”
Dad: “Welcome to adulthood. You think I like 50-60 hour work weeks?” (My dad works 12 hour days as a financial director at Fortune 500 company. And I actually DID think he liked working long days.)
Me: “Waaah. Adulthood sucks.”
Dad: “Adults don’t say, ‘suck’ unless they’re talking about vacuums. Also, you should eat meat.”
Mom: “Adults don’t say ‘freaking,’ either. You know what that’s a substitute for.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Email/G-chat/Tweet to Friend Who is Not Medical Resident: “Waah! Work days long! Hate it! Sucks!”
Normal Friend: “Agreed! Let’s work part time or bake or anything to flee long hours in an office!”
. . . . . . .
Am I weak or whiny because a demanding full-time job seems like a lot to handle? (Seriously, please tell me I’m not as annoying as Terri from Glee: “See, I’m not built to work five days a week.”)
When I asked: is there a way to have a clean house, homemade dinner, and a fabulous, exciting career? You all confessed it was difficult and tiring for you as well – and gave me some great suggestions.
Still, I feel alone at work and in my social circles where the vast majority of my friends, family, and colleagues seem perfectly content that there isn’t much life outside of work – aside from glorious, but short, weekends. Is it naive, presumptuous, or even pretentious to want out of the hamster wheel of long days and little time at home?
I picked up a book (on CD) that perfectly articulated the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head. I listened to Womenomics by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman during my commute for the last week or two and nodded along enthusiastically as I heard things like:
“If we’re increasingly frustrated by the sixty-hour office week, the next generation has no interest in it at all…They want to create unique, non traditional career paths so that they can achieve all their live goals. They are impressively confident about their priorities, and they won’t settle for anything less than liberation. ‘Generations X and Y do have a very strong work ethic, but they want more balance – a satisfying work and personal life…’ notes Kathleen Christensen.”
Maybe I’m not alone after all! The authors pointed out flaws in workplace culture – particularly the insanity of presence-orientated work (being in an office for a certain number of hours) instead of results-oriented work.
The worst is that guilty feeling that invades your soul (or maybe just mine) if you’ve gotten your work done for the day, but the boss hasn’t left yet – do you leave or will that show that you’re not committed? There seems to be an insinuation that “She who is in the office for longer hours must be a better worker.” Asking for a day off can send my anxiety skyrocketing, even if I absolutely deserve it. Usually, I just wimp out and talk myself out of it.
I know this guilt and anxiety I feel is not unique. (Right??)
One more quote from the book, just because it makes my heart soar:
“These workers demand more flexibility, meaningful jobs, professional freedom, higher rewards, and a better work-life balance than older employees do. Companies face a rate of high attrition if their expectations aren’t met'”