is there such a thing as work/life balance?
people always say your twenties are when you should be building a name for yourself in the job market. they say that it's the time to focus on your career while you're still young. while i find these statements to be true, i also don't believe this applies to every twenty-something year old.
i don't like talking about my job on here because i try to keep it separate (how ironic), but i need some advice...so here it goes. i've been working full-time for the last 3.5 years. i graduated from college in december of 2007, and shortly thereafter landed a job in DC. i was extremely luck and grateful. the job market was terrible and i was competing against graduates who had years upon years of internships and experience. but i somehow managed to land a reasonable marketing position at a government IT reseller. how fitting for DC, right?
for the next two years, i rarely left the office before 7pm. the marketing department had no structure. some nights i found myself staying until 10pm printing decks (for other people) and making name badges - administrative tasks in my book. granted i knew coming in that there were administrative tasks that came along with the position, but i felt extremely unvalued and overlooked. i was putting in all this time and energy into something that i didn't truly enjoy or believe in. i did not feel like i was "building the name" that i wanted for myself in this cut-throat industry.
the DC market is very cut-throat. and i was not prepared. but who really is at the ripe age of 22? despite the long hours and administrative tasks, i ended up learning a lot of great career skills at my first job which then led me to my current job - a more senior level federal marketing position. cut-throat doesn't even begin to describe this place. sometimes i feel very out of my element, but i try to tell myself that it will be worth it in the end and that it's building me up for bigger and better things. but is it really?
the hours are exhausting. the work is challenging. the expectations are set way above reality. i feel like i put so much energy into this job, that when i come home at night the last thing i want to do is be social! thoughts about meetings, brochures, and events flood my head from the moment i leave the office to the moment i fall asleep at night - am i prepared for tomorrow's meeting? did i submit the graphics? did the caterer get our menu selections? i want to be able to come home - at a reasonable hour - and enjoy the night with boyfriend or friends, with no thoughts about work. i hate that if i have a bad day at work, i bring that emotion home with me. i hate that i spend 10+ hours a day on a computer at work and come home to just turn it back on. and i hate that i let these thoughts affect me in the way that it does. i find it extremely difficult to leave my "work" at work. a part of me wants so badly to be that twenty-something professional that throws myself into my work and build my personal eminence, but a part of me wants to have a completely separate personal life. is that even possible?
i believe there is a very fine line between work life and personal life, so how do i find this line and keep it there?
do you have a work/life balance? if so, how do you separate your work from your home life? and if not, how do you manage?