Work-life balance

During the week I stepped into the lift at work and heard one man say to his colleague “how are you today?”.

“Wednesday” his co-worker replied. 

I’m assuming that this meant the he was glad that it was Wednesday and that he’d made it that far through the week. It was shorthand for thank goodness we’ve arrived at Wednesday but I’ll be a lot more cheerful when it’s Friday. Bring it on!

It made me think about an article I read ages ago about IT help desks. The guy said that when they re-set people’s passwords they always used the day of the week as a temporary password unless it was Wednesday. They never used Wednesday because people invariably couldn’t spell it and they would keep ringing them back to complain that their password re-set hadn’t worked. That made me laugh.

Anyway back to work. Things are a little bit difficult at work at the moment. We’re in a state of suspended animation whilst we are in the throes of a re-structure and I think quite a few people are pondering their future and what work means to them.

Like many older workers I’m in the happy position of having choices. I appreciate that is not the case for everyone and sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the fact that I can choose what work to do and how long I want to work for. But then I remember that I’ve been working for about 45 years now (not always being paid, but working nevertheless) so I’m allowed to slow down, make time for my hobbies and creative pursuits and just enjoy life.

Today I’ve had a sleep in, been for a swim and finished reading a novel I’ve been trying to get through for ages (it was really good). I’m feeling very relaxed and happy but I’m trying not to sound smug. 

My neighbour came over for a visit earlier. She’s a busy mum with a full time job and two small children, one of whom is a 16 month old ball of energy. She said she’d love to have time to read or just have a little time to herself. I remember feeling like that when I had small children. I was studying part-time at Uni when my children were small and most of my course notes were consumed in the brief interlude when they were glued to the morning television shows.

God bless you Humphrey B Bear. I would never have gained an Arts degree without your help!

My neighbour said that her job is very demanding and that she often works at night to keep up with the workload. It seemed wrong to me until I thought about how many times I came home from work, cooked the dinner, bathed the kids, read stories and then sat down at my computer to finish assignments or mark essays. My husband would see the light on in my study in the wee small hours and wander in to enquire if I was ever coming to bed. 

So I guess we all do the hard yards to make a career for ourselves and look after our families, but in hindsight I sometimes wish I’d made more time for my family and for myself. As the old saying goes… No-one ever lies on their deathbed thinking “I wish I’d stayed longer at work”. 

4 thoughts on “Work-life balance

  1. I’m happy to hear that this resonated with you. I’ve always loved working and once famously said that I would come to work even if they didn’t pay me! This was met with disbelief and laughter at the time, but I’ve always been lucky enough to enjoy my work.
    Lately I’ve been thinking that being at work is taking me away from pursuits that are more interesting and engaging and I’ve started to resent the fact that I don’t have enough time to do the things I want to do. Once upon a time I would have done these extra things at night but I’m get too old to stay up so late! Sad but true…

  2. Very relevant post for me as I’m trying to adjust and balance work with the things I enjoy doing and never have enough time for. Not easy, but starting to make some progress! Your final sentence chimes with me!

  3. I have always read a lot; even when I had small children and was studying. When I did Australian Literature I had to read about 8 books over the term and then plays and poetry. It was a stretch to do it sometimes but I’m glad I made time to read. I recall a friend who said ‘if people didn’t watch so much TV they would have time to read’. These days it probably applies to checking your social media accounts!

    1. I guess it’s something that you either make time for or you don’t. I had to admit to my neighbour that sometimes reading a book took precedence over doing the housework. It kept me sane.
      Staying at home with small children is rewarding but you also need some intellectual stimulation and some time to yourself.
      Re social media – I guess we all spend quite a bit of time checking our social media accounts when we could be doing something more productive/enlightening. Many people have written about the deleterious effects of constantly checking your accounts so I have turned my notifications off and try not to check too many times per day.

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