Easter is a time many look forward to as a welcome 4-5 day break. It’s the longest public holiday we get before Christmas. But there’s so much to get done. Quotes and artwork to finish, admin to complete, ideas to create. So, buggar it, let’s have a half hour sleep-in on Friday, then quietly bow out of family lunch and get back to the office. What better time to catch up when the phones are quiet?
How familiar does this sound? Come to think of it how many weekends are you in the office? And what about those evenings?
It’s a sad thing to see how the industry has become so familiar with late nights and working weekends that when someone does choose to leave at 5.30pm they are frowned upon.
“Oi! Where the hell are you going? Are you sick or something? I bet you’re going for a job interview!”
I’ve seen it over and over. Agency people working their butts off to keep up with the expectations of their boss, fellow team members and those ever needy clients. Your personal life can go out the window. Marriages go bust if they get the chance to form at all. Friends move on, gym memberships expire, the lawn gets longer, the number of messages from your mother gets longer, neighbours think you’re a visitor and your kids forget what you look like in the daylight.
You can end up feeling like you’re deep in the rat race and there’s no way out. This job isn’t as much fun as it used to be. You spend so much time at work, that there doesn’t appear to be much else going on in your life so, to feel safe, you go back to the office again.
When I talk to agency clients about this I hear “Sorry, chook. We are workaholics. This is just the way the industry is and it’s a necessity to be a workaholic to survive.”
But, I say, what’s your definition of surviving? You work so long and hard you need “assistance” to relax at the end of the day or get to sleep. You’re starting to have stomach ulcers, blurred vision, lose your concentration, there’s confusion, the immunity’s dropped. You’re cynical, exhausted, moody and, crucially, you make more mistakes (that one alone could prevent you from surviving). What kind of a life is that?
Sometimes I wonder if the exhaustion is simply all the effort you’re putting into suppressing running out into the street naked (yep, we’ve seen that recently) just to yell at the top of your lungs “THIS IS NOT A LIFE.”
It may not feel like there’s much within your control to change your situation. Everyone around you at work has that same look on their face as you but, it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done.
If HR won’t do anything to help, you can start with how you treat yourself.
So have another think about the Easter break. How important is it to go in to the office? How quickly could you complete what you need to do in there if you believed it would take less time than you think?
Take care for yourself. If you love your job and want to be the best you can, then R&R is more necessary than you believe.
Annabelle Drumm is a Business and Life coach offering coaching, facilitating and stress management training for ad and media agencies. Check out her info on www.kitegirlcoach.com