Stop working so hard
I got a request from someone in Texas last night after 7 p.m. to do something, which meant I’d have to contact someone at a company somewhere in France. I didn’t do anything about it last night, mainly because I hadn’t checked my work email, but if I had, I probably would have.
Now the fact that I didn’t check my work email last night was a big deal. I actually had to leave the house to avoid doing so. I had to get away from my desk, far far away. I went to do a bunch of errands in and near the mall – and I accidentally left my phone at home, which was in one sense a bummer because it has my $0.10-ten-cents-off gas app but in another a benefit because it was more of a break with no electronics. However, I think it was annoying for the 75% of the other members in my immediate family who tried to reach me. (The remaining 25% was at work.)
Instead, I sent a note this morning before 8 a.m. (and yes, I was at my desk before 8. It is usually earlier because I have been getting up at 4:50 a.m. to take my middle son and his friend to work, along with all the other early commuters, and am usually back at my desk by 7:20ish. However, today I was among the first shoppers at the supermarket, “found everything I need” along with the dog food my husband reminded me we were out of — I berated myself that I had forgotten it at Target last night, but was happy to have the chance to go to this bigger supermarket and get a few things I can’t find around the corner — and put it all away, too.
I got this back right away from the person in France.
Je suis absent jusqu’au 3 septembre 2017 inclus avec un accès limité à mes mails.
A little later, I got this back from the guy in Texas.
AUTO: I’m at on vacation.
I am out of the office from Tue, Aug 15 7:00 AM, returning Fri, Aug 18 9:00 AM
Note the disparity.
The French guy is out of the office until September 3. I don’t know when he left, but even if he left today, that’s like two-and-a-half weeks.
The American guy is taking three vacation days, and he was working during the first one.
I was going to go out and research a whole bunch of statistics that talk about how much Americans work compared to people in Europe, but it’s really not necessary if you watch the video above. You get the idea.
The picture at the top is actually from the vacation my husband and I took less than a month ago. After a wonderful week in Barbados, it was a rough re-entry to reality. The Monday I got back was when my middle son started that new job. My side gig has been inordinately busy. Fortunately, it’s flexible, but too much work is still too much.
Yet, I have a hard time saying no, even though I’m feeling seriously overworked. That is because of the volatility of the main company where I’m a contractor. So many layoffs. So much job insecurity. So much offshoring. So much cheaper labor. That’s why I have the side gig in the first place (and am even developing a side-side gig).So much job insecurity. So much offshoring. So much cheaper labor. Can anyone just relax on… Click To Tweet
Here is something *I* need to remember because Americans are the most overworked developed nation in the world. (We work 499 more hours per year than French workers.)
- It’s OK to ask to move to fewer hours at work.
- It’s OK to take a week-long vacation if we need to.
- It’s OK to ask to work from home.
Don’t let life pass you by in the name of fear, circumstance, greed, or misguided hopes. Sometimes you just need to draw a line in the sand and say “enough is enough”.
Ten years ago I took a two-week vacation. The reason was that the conveniently timed non-stop airline tickets were so expensive, I needed to offset two weeks x three kids worth of daycare. I flew with the kids across the country to see my mom. I checked in with work while I was gone. How nice would it be to take a two-week vacation and not check in at all? Or a three-week vacation (even though I don’t get that many paid weeks).
More from 20 Something Finance:
For many of us, more work leads to more stress and a lower quality of life. Without time to unwind, take care of your home, spend time with loved ones, enjoy our hobbies, connect with friends, and generally live a more balanced life. Stress is the #1 cause of health problems – mentally and physically. And there are few things that stress us out on a consistent basis like work does, especially when it takes away from all of the other things that life has to offer.
Um, yeah. That’s why I decided to walk the dogs, assemble a piece of furniture, bake cookies, and work on my blog tonight – and not my to-do list.
What about you? Are you overworked?