I have recently spent the last three months working- not all the time, but in increased hours, and accepting the duty of being on call twenty four hours a day, sevendays a week. I believed I knew what I was getting into, was able to handle it, and everthing would work out fine. After one month I was worn; three; beaten down. When I had the opportunity to take an actual week away from my place of employment and the ability to relax came back, I had a profound realization that what I had done- actually volunteered to do- was incredibly short sighted and pretty damn stupid on my part.
Given the chance to reflect and think about things, I discovered that rather than being a good experience, or being a team player, I was sabotaging myself. I slowly realized what I had done hurt me. Worse, I signed up for this.Even while at home, I was on call, and could not really really relax, expecting the phone to ring at any moment. I discovered that overwork on my part hurt me as a person in five basic ways:
- Bodily. I neglected any semblance of exercise, thinking the running I do all day would suffice. My weight increased as I grabbed whatever food was available, eating on the run. I have been going on borrowed energy for sometime, and would frequently fall asleep on my family as I could not keep up the pace.
- Mentally. Being unable to relax is disastrous. One tends to live in a bubble, unfamiliar with current events or even the weather. Hobbies become neglected, and there is little chance to read or work the mind meaningfully.
- Spiritually: This was the last aspect that was the most difficult to recognize in overworking. I was drained mentally and physically. Although I didn’t know it, I was irritable, and a complete ass to friends and family who I thought did not get it, that what I was doing was important.
- Family. It is my greatest regret that I neglected this part of me. My wife didn’t have her husband, and the kids their father. Obligations I wanted with scouting were avoided, and I missed a portion of my daughter’s freshman year in high school. In essence, while I was trying to provide for them, I ended up neglecting them.
- Career. With all of the time I had going inot being on the clock and time going by, I became burned out. Regular continuing education for my license was put off. Eventually, I was becoming sullen and a risk for some untoward event to happen that could cause a lot of problems I do not need.
There are reasons that workers are given days off, vacations, or weekends away. This is the chance to rest, recharge,and reconnect. Consider the basic truth of the statement, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The dullness becomes obvious on several levels.
Before taking the extra assignment, days of work, or additional call time, consider the balance that is neccesary to your life. There is nothing more important that your life, and your family so make sure they are the priority that deep they are. There comes a point where too much becomes a bad thing, and the balance is thrown off. Remeber, no one will regret spending too much time with the family as opposed to overworking.
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