The life/work imbalance

Working 24/7 doesn’t make you any better or worse at your job, it will just burn you out. I’ve been there, and I’m not going back.

Let me first say that our industry would be much worse off without the people who take time to share their knowledge, speak at conferences, run workshops, and teach others. That’s not what this is about, it’s about a mindset that seems to be purveying of late. The mindset of expectation.

We’re both blessed and cursed in equal measures that our industry has got to the point where there are so many talented people within it who want to help, that others are made to feel like they should give back, not because they want to do so, but because it’s what’s expected of them. We cannot expect people to do this off their own back, our perspective needs to change.

If you enjoy what you do on a day-to-day basis enough to want to do more of it when you get home, I envy you a little, but I’m also rather pleased that I’ve been able to set a certain degree of boundaries between what I do to earn a living, and what I do on my own time.

One of the more unique aspects of our industry is the (albeit fairly recent) openness about mental health issues, be it anxiety, depression, or any one of the many other equally very real issues a surprisingly large number of people suffer from on a day-to-day basis, usually in relative silence. Some of us are lucky enough to work for people who understand them, perhaps even able to draw from experiences first-hand, and who actively encourage a work-life balance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when we work on the web (and to a certain degree ‘live’ there for so much of our lives) it’s important not to forget that it’s even more paramount to have some variety in our lives.

Do the absolute best work you can do when you’re working. Work in your spare time if that makes you happy, but do it because that’s what you want to do to make you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy, use your spare time to try and find something that does, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • I think there is a certain degree of responsibility with some employers to create a less 24/7 work ethic. These kinds of environments tend to encourage unhealthy competition between people e.g. working late, weekends, the ‘going the extra mile’ ethos. People then start feeling guilty about having a life outside of work, when others are happily boasting that they worked all night! I can speak from experience and it did lead to poorer mental health and general unhealthiness. Moving forward, the flexible working hours is in the right direction, although requires a lot more self discipline.

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