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Feel like a slave to your career?

Feel like a slave to your career?

As a career management coach, so many of my clients tell me they regularly don’t get to bed before midnight, or give up weekends and holidays to work. And there’s no doubt that many of today’s jobs are incredibly demanding.

But if we’re really honest, are some of the pressures and expectations we feel of our own making? And do we have more control over our work-life balance than we realise?

Seneca, the ancient philosopher, once said:

No slavery is more disgraceful than one which is self-imposed.

Reading his words made me sit up and realise that we need to recognise and act on our own ability to free ourselves.

So if you feel like you’re a slave to your career, how about taking a moment to reflect on some of your work habits?

  • Is it really essential to answer that email at 2 am when most people will be asleep?
  • Is anyone insisting you be the first one in the office or the last to go home?
  • Does that report have to be absolutely perfect or is ‘good enough’, well, good enough?

I know I’m guilty of letting my work occupy my thoughts far longer than it should. But Seneca’s wise words remind me to find ways to switch off my chattering mind.

The best discipline for me is meditating for 10 minutes a day, sometimes twice a day. As I work a lot from home, it gives me a mental refresh between work and leisure.  But sometimes when work is hectic, I think, ‘I haven’t got 10 minutes to meditate.’ And that is exactly the time I need to take a break.

When I shared my thoughts about how not to be a slave to your career my LinkedIn network made many helpful suggestions that you might like to consider:

  • Really integrating and accepting that I’m not paid for the hours I work but for the impact I have and contribution I make helps me define when is enough.
  • It comes down to understanding that we are the ultimate judge of our own performance. We have to own the decision on whether we have done enough. Others may have input, but we shoulder that responsibility – and we should treat ourselves with compassion.
  • For me taking a walk in nature is my meditation and ‘me time’ allowing me to gather thoughts and come back refreshed.
  • I always felt the need to be ‘always on’, ultimately to my own detriment. It is only now that I’m getting better at it and a good deal of that is lead by my daughter and her focus on a work/life balance.
  • Seneca’s words remind us to stop and check who is it that is making us a slave to our work – a look in the mirror can lead to a shocking awareness!

What are your thoughts? Do you feel like a slave to your career? And if so, what could you do to free yourself?

As a career management coach, I strive to inspire career professionals to thrive and see change as an incredible opportunity to re-evaluate your career. I hope these tips and reflections help you take positive steps to being in the driving seat and not be enslaved by your career. If you need help and guidance on how to get there, please get in touch. I’m here to help…