CAREER VS LIFE: IN SEARCH OF THE BALANCE

Dear Fancy Lacy Community,

It’s the season to be merry and my post is hardly going to be cheerful, but as the end of the year approaches, there are a few important things to consider for a more balanced, healthier life in 2016.

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A friend of mine has recently had a work-related nervous breakdown followed by immediate hospitalization. This person is a career-driven, hardworking woman and has given her job a lot time, energy, and – as recent events demonstrate – a lot of her physical and mental health. Unfortunately, she is one of many who work long hours at the cost of quality family time and healthy lifestyle. Given the state of the economy, we should be grateful that there is a job to go to, right? Well, yes, and no. Sacrificing yourself in the name of work and income may sound noble, but I would like to question this all too common scenario.

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Just to be clear, I’m not speaking generally about everyone. I’m certainly not referring to the low-income families whose livelihood depends solely on the hard work of their providers. A lot of people have to work whatever jobs come their way in order to merely survive; while some others choose to become workaholics. And then there are some people who get caught up in their work and lose track of time and priorities. I’ll go as far as to suggest that at some point in their lives most people have experienced how “going with the flow” may have taken them to places they did not want to be.

The dreadful experience that my friend had to go through is an extreme example of how an imbalance between work and life may affect a person. While you do not always end up at the psych ward as a result of work pressure, stress undeniably takes an enormous toll on your health and relationships.

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I may not be in a position to judge, since my part-time work leaves me with enough time and energy to look after my health and lead an active lifestyle. But here is something I’ve learned from her story: it’s all about setting the priorities and acting accordingly.

work-life-balanceFamily is of great value to me, and a family-friendly job was high on my priorities list. I’m currently working as an English teacher to newcomers to Canada. I enjoy it and on most days come home happy; I feel that I’m making a small difference in the lives of others; and I have the time to do other things I enjoy – spending time with my husband, running the household, implementing a healthy diet, and maintaining a good physical shape. I may not be making quite enough yet but that will hopefully change once I transition into a full-time employment. I’m not implying that everybody should get out there and look for teaching jobs. Of course, not! What I’m trying to say is that you need to remember your values when you are looking for ways to support them, because, at the end of the day, your job is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Or is it?

And if the whirlpool of life starts to blur your vision making it harder to focus on your priorities, don’t panic. Reboot – reflect and re-evaluate – and restart.

Let this post be a reminder to embrace your priorities in the new year.

Thank you for reading,

Anna

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

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