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9 to 5? More like 24/7.

July 13, 2012

I have a lot of responsibility; it changes frequently and requires a lot creativity. I love my job. However, it’s also the kind of job that I could be working 24/7. I’m constantly drawn into long days and work at odd hours, and more and more I’m left with the feeling that I just can’t keep up. I’m beginning to feel the strain. How do I keep from hitting the wall?

— Working for the Weekend... That Never Comes, Portland

Answer:

OK, are you giving yourself any time to relax, take a break? If not, spend five minutes now looking at adorable pictures of kittens and puppies here: http://cuteoverload.com/

Seriously, I bet if you talked to friends, family, coworkers, you would find that a lot of people are struggling with the same question. It could be you—do you take on more than is realistic for the time, skills, or experience that you have? That’s a pretty easy trap to fall into if you are eager to please or don’t have a clear sense of your own limits.

If you’re not into blaming yourself, talk to some co-workers.  It could be you can modify this punishing workplace culture with a few of you leading by example.  And check out your company’s policies on work hours – it could be you’ve got back-up there.

But you may need to join up with national efforts to restore sanity to work hours.  In the U.S. we’ve got the WORST employment policies when it comes to hours in the industrialized world.  Check out Family Values @ Work for a way to get paid sick days the law of the land.