Here’s something about work-life balance: you don’t talk about work-life balance unless you don’t have it. So if you ever mention it to your partner, friend or manager, this post is for you.
Hi. I’m Andreea. I haven’t been stressed at work since 2013.
Six years ago I was doing what any 24y old does – climbing the ladder. I had a lead position in a big corporation, working around 10 hours a day and taking meetings in my pyjamas at 5 am. But I had no other responsibilities, so working my ass off was ok, even if I was stressed and crying a lot. My life was my work.
And now, here I am, writing this blog post in the bow of my boat (read about that here), on a Friday morning, drinking coffee and watching the Canada geese coming towards me begging for bread. I commute to London from my little corner of heaven just 3 days a week and have another work from home day on Thursdays. I teach Yoga on Monday and Thursday evenings and live the blogger life the rest of the time. There’s still room for improvement and believe me, I’m working on it because it’s worth it.
I got here through minimizing, optimizing, planning and crunching the numbers. But most importantly, by having the courage to go against what’s “normal”. I took responsibility for my life and made choices. If there’s something I learned over the last few years, this is it: EVERYTHING in life is a choice. And on that note, I recommend you go and watch this video.
So for the next 3 posts, stick with me while I’m sharing my “secrets” to work-life balance.
Achieving work-life balance. Part 1 – Make sure you have the right job
Around 60% of people are unhappy with their jobs. If you’re one of that 60 %, let’s get to the bottom of it.
1. The responsibilities
Let’s get this out of the way first.
Do you enjoy what you do?
Is the job in line with your skills and long-term plans?
Because if the answer is No, do me a favour and get your ass off your chair now and quit. OK, fine, start looking for another job first…
Nowadays, there is no such thing as job security. If that’s the reason you’re there, you can safely browse for new offers. My super-secure job at a big corporation (where I loved what I did, by the way) ended abruptly because the company decided to close down the office. Remember, this is business, and there is no such thing as job security.
Afraid you’re not going to find something else? There are millions of jobs out there; it’s almost impossible not to find a match. And you can start searching for one while you’re still employed.
The bottom line is, there is no reason to stay in a job you don’t love.
2. The people
It doesn’t seem important, but I did leave a job because of this. The environment and the people you work with make a big chunk of how you feel on the job.
Do you feel respected and appreciated?
You don’t have to be friends with the people you work with, you don’t have to take part in social activities or the boring Christmas party, but you have to be comfortable going to work every day.
If you have weird sensations in your stomach when approaching the door or seeing a particular person, that’s your body telling you something’s wrong. I finally listened after 3 years and moved on.
3. The commute
If I ever become Queen, I’ll make all jobs remote. I promise.
After we moved to London, Alin found the perfect job – he was good at it, the pay was good, people were friendly. There was just one problem – he was spending 3 hours every day on the commute. I should mention that it was 3 hours where public transport had no issues, but in London, there are always issues. We were only seeing each other late in the evening. He had no life outside work, except for the weekends.
This only lasted for a year. Alin left the job, but the one that followed did not pass check no 1. It was just not for him. He’s back to the old job he loved, but this time working from home.
4. The money
And finally, my favourite topic.
What’s the return on investment?
For this exercise, I want you to consider not only what you’re paid, but what you spend for the job too.
How much are you paid per day?
How much do you spend on the commute to get there every day?
Do you pay for daycare or outsourcing other activities because you’re at work?
I started looking at money in this way after reading the story of a mum blogger (Hi, Amber!) that left her job after realizing that almost everything she was making was going into daycare. So she decided to quit and stay home with the children instead.
The reason why I want you to do the exercise is that most times, money is the reason we’re working too much. So make sure it’s worth it.
I cut back on work to enjoy life more, so I had to look at the numbers to see if I can afford it. Obviously, I do. That means that the dogs don’t get professional £45 walks every day of the week, but I do that happily myself. I save another £16 for every day I don’t commute. I have lunch at home instead of spending £15 in the city. So little by little, I was able to cut a full day of work.
So now, tell me, you’re still sure you’re doing the right job?
I’ll be back next week with the juicy stuff. Until then, don’t be afraid to question everything and don’t be afraid to make choices. Live life on your terms.