by Hannah Bower on September 29, 2017

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Of Being Addicted To Work


I am the youngest of the three daughters in my family, and yes, pretty much all the "younger sibling stereotypes" were true.

I grew up spoiled - not because we had money; we definitely didn't - because I usually got away with anything and everything and was pretty lazy.

It didn't help that in junior high and all through high school I went to a "college prep school" that only required us to be on campus three days a week, and then studying/doing homework on the other two - which usually wound up being sleep in, watch Pride and Prejudice on repeat, or go hang out with friends days.

Growing up the only thing I was motivated about was dance, drill team, friends, and painting.

My room was always a disaster (I like to think it's the sign of a creative mind), I was late everywhere, skipped as many days of school as I could, and usually did my homework in the class period before it was due.

Right before my senior year of high school my parents figured out they were not able to afford school for my last year, and that I needed to be homeschooled.

This devastated me - not because I liked school, but because I didn't want to be stuck at home my last year when I was supposed to be raising any sort of hell I could in my tiny private school.

My dad at the time had just stepped down from working five jobs to just being in full time ministry.

Before, he part owned a video production company, was a youth pastor, cleaned our church, cleaned a day five nights a week, and was teaching a Bible class at my high school.

Even through these endless efforts to make every dollar possible, we still struggled financially, so you can imagine how scary it was when he took a massive pay grade by working for our church full time.

Because of this transition, and there not being money for me to go to school, I decided to get a job at a local deli.

I knew I was not really going to be homeschooling, I kind of made up my mind that I would possibly just get my GED, I made my availability completely open.

I quickly went from no work experience to forty hours a week and employee of the month my first month of being there.

Growing up because of my lack of care in almost every area of my life, no one in my life expected to me have great work ethic or even be someone managers wanted every shift and trusted with tasks they wouldn't trust other employees with.

I quickly became an essential part of the team at the deli, and I loved it.

That was when I was seventeen.

Since then I put myself through a full year of college, paid for a trip to Holland and Portugal, and paid to move and live in England for a year.

Now I work two part time jobs that wind up being about fifty five hours Monday - Friday between the two, plus odd jobs on the weekend and weeknights.

Something switched in me when I was seventeen and saw that I was actually capable of being a hard worker that people admired and appreciated; I could no longer allow myself to be lazy or sit back and have things "just fall in my lap".

It wasn't an option.

But, there have been a couple things that I have learned since being on the verge of a work-a-holic, and it's that you need to know when to stop, but you also need to know when to continue.

There's a mix of opinions out there on whether you should pour every second you have into work, or whether it is actually more productive to shut off and take time for yourself.

People like Gary Vaynerchuk believe every one should just hustle, stay on the work grind, and only leave the office when you have to in order to obtain the level of success you want.

Then, there are people like the guys from 37signals who live by #workcanwait, and say that you need to know when to shut off, go home, spend time with your family or with yourself, and recoup so that you are ready for another productive day the next day.

If you ask me, both are true.

Everyone has to find that very very fine line between the two contrasting ideas that allow you to work hard and achieve the success you want, but also allows you time to have a family and have time to do the things that you love outside of work that bring you life.

You need hustle in order to be successful.

You're not going to make a name for yourself or see a company from the ground up if you are more worried about getting off in time for happy hour every week with your friends, catching your favorite TV series newest episode every night, or going to concerts every night.

If you want success, the funds to support the life you want to live, or to make a difference, then you have to be dedicated to prioritizing your time and your life to reflect it.

However, at the same time, if you are running yourself into the ground and burning out your creative fuse day in and day out, you need to put on the breaks.

To an extent, it is good to leave the office an hour early one night if it means your get to go hear an inspirational speaker, you get to go home and paint a picture to release what's in your head and heart, go spend time with your spouse or kids, or to go to your friends birthday dinner.

Don't isolate yourself and feel like you are not allowed to be unique and have likes or dislikes outside of your office niche.

I am the kind of person who loves travel, live music, painting, and creating experiences with the people I love.

If I don't feel like I'm feeding that creative/social vein every once in a while, I go insane.

I start burning out and feel super unproductive.

This is when hustle has to stop.

I am no good to my company, or my body, if I can't produce work that I am proud of.

What are the things, even if they are small, that bring you life?

Don't push those to the side completely if you are in club "I'm addicted to work and I can make it work, leave me alone," just prioritize your time where you have a good balance of hard, dedicated work, errands and laundry, family and friends, and then then the things you love.

Working five jobs did not work for my dad.

He may have made money, but he felt like a shell of a person.

For me, I can't sit and do nothing.

I have to work, earn a certain amount, and contribute a certain amount to people and the jobs I work in order to feel like I have been everything I can and feel successful.

Where do you fit on the scale?

Wherever it is, work hard, but live life.

You get one, so figure out what's most important to you, and pursue it.

 

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Hannah Bower

Jr. Inbound Marketing Consultant, and lover of all things art related, pursuing the creative life among the world of business and Inbound Marketing.