With today’s economy and job climate, young professionals who are fortunate enough to have a job are quickly becoming burned out. A mentor of mine once said to me, “When the economy is good, you won’t work as hard and you will be rewarded, but when the economy is bad, you will work your hardest for nothing.” I find this statement, disturbing as it may be, to be true. It’s hard to find a company who is expanding or hiring. When a company has a vacancy often duties of the position are split among existing employees. Vacancy’s can be good for a company’s bottom line, but it’s not always the best situation for an employee. Proving that you are a valued employee and one who can finish the workload often means long hours and stressful times.
Finding a work life balance can be difficult. Lunch time, which at one time meant a break from work and time with friends is now work time. An extra hour can make a huge difference in your day and help to eliminate the long to do list which glares at you. If you do have an opportunity to escape from your office, it’s to attend a seminar, a professional development event, or a networking opportunity. Sometimes it’s the only hour you have to run errands as stores close before you are off for the day.
In the age of technology, young professionals are so accustom to their smart phones that more times then not they are connected to them at all times- even the bathroom! With the alarmingly increasing fast pace and technology overload, young professionals often forget to stop. Constantly going leads to burnout which isn’t effective for any of the parties involved. So what do you do? How do you obtain the dream of life-work balance when you are trying to advance your career as much as possible? One thing you can do is turn off your phone (“Gasp!”), or at least put it on mute. I know this is such a foreign concept, but it’s necessary. When your phone is constantly beeping at you it’s extremely hard to ignore it. You have to recharge yourself. You have to take time for you.
I knew a young professional who would be the last one to leave the building each day trying with all his might to eliminate each day’s to-do list. Do you know what happened? His work became his social life and his relationships suffered. Perhaps the most poignant result was that the list was recreated with new duties each and every morning. The moral of the story is quality not quantity. The work will always be there. You only have a limited time on this earth, so you need to learn how to work more efficiently instead of working more.
Young professionals need to learn that the work place will not collapse without them. We find ourselves very self important and granted we work hard and do make a difference, but the world will not stop without us. surprisingly, the workplace survives without your constant presence. I am not suggesting that you aren’t an important cog in the wheel, but I am suggesting you take your vacation days. Many young professionals are so focused on their work that those lucky enough to have vacation days lose them. Take your vacation days.
Everyone needs to recharge to be effective. With the demands of the office on your shoulders day after day, you would be surprised how much better you feel physically and mentally after you rest. Figure out a way to sleep. Sleep is the body’s way of recharging. Turn the television off, along with the phone, and get a good nights rest. You will be surprised what you can accomplish when you are well rested.
Young Professionals do it all! They strive to improve their education, work on climbing up the corporate ladder, maintain a social life and for some- start a family. Balance is an essential piece to the puzzle. Make time for you; work will be there for years to come.