Monday 25th March
For years it seemed that I could never get this balance right. It was always on the work side. In fact I am certain that I used work to fill in some of the empty spaces in my life. Work always came first, no question in my mind. I think I was always scared of not having any work, of losing my job, of being fired. For years as a single parent there was the added pressure of having no other breadwinner to share the burden, so it was more than incumbent on me to keep a job. And the pattern was set early on; there are those content to just do their nine to five every day and there are others who go more than that extra mile. I was one of the latter, and never failed to stay late or go in early, or take work home. And even now I read my e-mails late at night and usually reply, rather than leave it until the morning.
It is partly about wanting to do the job properly, not letting people down, maybe an exaggerated sense of my own importance. And what difference did it all make in the end? Not really sure, but given the time again I wouldn’t have done it differently.
Just recently though I seem to have achieved a bit of a change; I am now more and more succeeding in achieving that work-life balance. I feel that the emphasis has changed, and I am now working in order to give me enough money to live, but not to the detriment of that life itself. I now organize my work around my life and not the other way round. Partly this is because I am almost financially independent now, and if work decides the date of my retirement rather than me, then that’s okay. I have given notice that I want to go down to three days a week in the near future, and some time after that it will be two days and then maybe none.
Years and years ago an old acquaintance told me that you can only really enjoy your job if you consider that being made redundant is a bonus. A joke at the time, but not that far from the truth either.