It's 9 in the night, and it's been exactly 12 hours since I perched myself at my office desk. 12 hours of looking at the screen and working. 12 hours of no social life. 12 hours of work, 6 days a week. A bit too much, if you ask me. But who's asking me? Here I am writing about work-life balance, when my life doesn't have any balance at all. Ironic much?
With every shot of coffee, I try to keep myself pepped up so I don't slack. The story of most of our lives, ain't it? The majority of us are living a life which is humming the same monotonous tune, the same routine, day after day, with absolutely no change. We have no time to socialise, or even the 'me-time' we keep wanting for ourselves.
But what to do? Work is worship, right?
And this is not just my story. This is the story of everyone in this generation trying to earn a living, sacrificing anything and everything that would help them climb the proverbial social ladder.
My family is pissed because I don't call them. My friends are angry and have stopped calling me altogether, sick of being thwarted again by the usual 'I'll call you in sometime' excuse. And my boyfriend, thank God for him. But I think the only reason he 'understands' is because he too is stuck at work, trying to wind up for the night.
And when the much-awaited Sunday arrives, I either waste it away trying to catch up on lost sleep, or binge drink to make peace with the Monday which is nigh and the Sunday which is almost over.
With absolutely no time for friends or family, our work schedule has sucked away even the sliver of social life we used to have.
My friends call for get-togethers, I promise them I'll be there, even after knowing that I probably won't make it. But hey! I can't say that to their faces, right? And it's not that I don't want to. Trust me, I really do. But every single time, something inadvertently comes up as if the universe knew that I had made prior plans.
This is when we make that call, playing our sad puppy card, and disappointing our friends, yet again. After all, work triumphs everything. And the next time around, as punishment for the ditching the plan like always, I'm not even added on the planning committee on WhatsApp. Now that sucks. But can I really blame them?
While we're busy adding things to do on our work list, we're missing out on life.
When we could be out eating with friends, and investing time in relationships that guarantee good times and life-long companionship as returns, we are working our asses off at work, trying to impress the boss. Working to get that appraisal that will not only fetch us more money, but also bring in more responsibility until the next appraisal that will weigh us down even more.
Thanks to technology, we're never really off work.
I rush for my phone every time it pings just to check if it's a work related e-mail, and if it happens to be, I make sure I reply to it ASAP. Nodding your heads in agreement right now, aren't you?
Because this is what we do, and no it's not a vice. It's just a habit that we have got so accustomed to. Believe me, our generation will probably be the first one to be diagnosed with Nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.
The ping of our phone is enough to get our hearts beating faster than love ever can. That's the sad truth because technology has blurred the lines between personal time, and well, office time. We are never off work.
The constant struggle to overachieve is never ending.
Everyday the things-to-accomplish list keeps expanding. An assignment here, some iteration there, and our day is done with. That extra hour in office to get work done, and earn the boss' respect as a hardworking person, that little added effort that shows how thorough you are with work. We get so caught up in overachieving that we lose perspective on where life is headed.
Often we even forget our loved ones. Because in our struggle, we make sacrifices that includes their lives, their plans with us or for us. Sacrifices for which we don't even ask their permission for. After all, aren't they a part of our lives too?
Many of us are living to work, not the other way around.
I was having this work-life discussion with a few colleagues. And the sad truth is that none of them had a perspective on what I was actually talking about. But then one guy said: "It's only when you hate your job, that you need a work-life balance."
Is it really so? Well, I tend to disagree. No matter how much you love your job, it does not guarantee 100% satisfaction to your growth as a person. So hating your job is not a prerogative with having a work-life balance. Yes, you get some life lessons while working, and you may have a good growth graph in terms of work as well. But is that all there is to life? Life is so much more than your cubicle.
We put our dreams and passions on hold just because we have a job.
Oh, you have a job, and that's why you're not going on that trip you planned with your friends. Guess what? Everyone has a job, every person has bills to pay, debts to settle, and things to plan. All of us eventually want to get settled. But until that happens, are we going to let our dreams and passions wither away like the fragile petals of a dandelion?
What happened to the dance class you've been wanting to join? Or the getaway trip you've been planning with your bae? I'm sure he/she deserves it and so do you, right?
These are times when we need to make hard choices, no matter what the consequences may be.
You can do anything but not everything, as the proverb goes. Taking decisions is one helluva daunting task. You're basically gauging your pros and cons, taking a call on whatever hand you've been dealt. And sometimes, there's not much to go with either. But when you decide to take a leave, or get out early from office to catch up with friends, don't think you're making a sacrifice. Your personal life is just as important as your work life, and it's high time we all realise this.
On a personal note, I'd say go out, explore, take time out for your friends and let life unravel. You'll be much happier with your life, and life will be much happier for you!
And on that note, let me wind up this article and scoot for home!