This week we will be talking about the last but not least of the 5 biggest reasons why people become unhappy with their jobs and start thinking about changing careers. Just to recap, I have talked about lack of growth, ability to make a difference, support system and compensation. Now let’s talk about work life balance.
Lack of work-life balance may not be the biggest contributor to career dissatisfaction, but it usually is one of the biggest motivators that pushes people to leave their jobs or careers behind. I think this happens because, unlike many other annoying reasons that make you unhappy at your job, this one actually doesn’t help keep you in your comfort zone. In fact, it makes it less and less bearable for you as you come home exhausted, only to hear your family complain that you don’t spend much time with them. Some extreme cases, such as health problems or relationship loss threats can really motivate you for a change.
Being a workaholic and passionate about your job are not mutually exclusive.
You may feel like the reason why you spend so much time at work is because you are very passionate about what you do. There is nothing wrong with staying late early in your career and every once in a while, as you grow. Sometimes that’s what the job demands. However, I am talking about people who do it voluntarily, constantly and consistently. In my experience, people who perpetually work overtime are not happy. Their energy feels overspent, exhausted and drained.
There is a fine line between passion and addiction. Passion is about doing or creating what you love, addiction is more about avoiding something. Workaholics are typically more about addiction than passion. They don’t stay long hours at work because they love what they do, they do it because they have a hard time letting it go. Or they do it because they are trying to avoid issues at home. Perhaps they are not happy with their relationships, or perhaps they don’t have anyone waiting for them at home.
Family and health are more important.
Long hours and stressful work environment are not the only factors that affect your work-life balance. Your commute time is another big issue. Imagine if it takes you an hour and a half to get to and from work every day. You are spending 3 hours every day on a congested highway, cursing at other crazy drivers. Sometimes you even adjust your work schedule, so you can spend less time in traffic, only to come home even later to spend time with your loved ones.
Bottom line, if you love your job and are really passionate about it, don’t forget about work-life balance. It is easy to burn out when a job takes away most of your energy and it is not worth losing your family over. I understand, you want to provide for your family and you want your kids to have everything they need. But don’t forget that one of their biggest needs is to have you around, especially during their major life events. There is only one thing that’s worse than having your family complain about your demanding job. And that is not being able to have a family in the first place, due to your highly demanding career.