Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are we addicted to our work?

In todays world its almost normal to have at least one job. My sister works three jobs and goes to school for her masters, friends at school work two jobs and attend night school, there are tons of moms out there working at a fulltime job, a fulltime mom, and some even go to school! I think these are amazing women and I'd love to hear how you do it. I came across an inspirational entrepreneur named Marc Cenedella. He is the CEO of which is an online job search site. I thought he had some great advice in his book, You're Better Than Your Job Search.  I love to work, I love having an income and paying off bills, and after yoga school, I began teaching a few classes but when the chances to teach more classes came, I had to decline just because of the lack of time I would have. So every once in a while I teach a class at work for the office peeps. In addition to that, I've found this new passion in acupuncture, so I'm currently going to school for my Masters in Science which is going to take about 4 more years and next semesters class picks are coming up, ugh. I hate this part, planning which nights I want to give up is not fun. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm able to go to school right now and learn something that I'm interested in, but the older I get (don't know why that is) the more I'm aware of the sacrifices that need to be made for things. My husband is extremely supportive and encouraging with school, but I know there is something that builds between people from spending real time together and that is not something I'm prepared to sacrifice for more schooling. And while we've talked about it and he says he's fine, maybe I need that time more than he does! He knows how I feel and has said that whatever I want to do is cool for him. For example, the sacrifice of classes on Fridays nights is that after a long week of working and class and cleaning and cooking, I don't get that release and satisfaction at the end of the week. And I started to wonder, is this just Americans who work this much? Are we addicted to overwork? Or does working alot actually make people happy? And I researched a little and found this article Workers of the World, Relax :

"All societies throughout history have had work right at their center; but ours -- particularly America's -- is the first to suggest that it could be something other than a punishment or penance. Ours is the first to imply that a sane human being would want to work even if he wasn't under financial pressure to do so. We are unique, too, in allowing our choice of work to define who we are, so that the central question we ask of new acquaintances is not where they come from or who their parents are but, rather, what it is they do -- as though only this could effectively reveal what gives a human life its distinctive timbre."

I hope that what I do doesn't define who I am to that extent! Its like Carrie says in Sex in the City the tv show when she's about the go off with the French guy regarding her writing for her column "Thats not who I am, thats what I do". And then I came across this great blog Mama Nuggle about a first time mom having a baby and having to go back to work, while her husband stayed home with their son and she says about working with a family and she doesn't let her work define her:

"Most importantly, it became easier to walk away from my job and call it a day, knowing that work could wait but my family couldn’t. A self-proclaimed workaholic, I suddenly realized that my work would never fully be done, and my to-do list would never be completely blank. And I accepted that. My colleagues noticed. My husband noticed. I noticed. And most importantly, Ty noticed. I soon lived a new mantra: being a manager is NOT HOW I AM GOING TO DEFINE MY ROLE IN THIS LIFE. It’s like the John Lennon quote, “LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU WHILE YOU’RE BUSY MAKING OTHER PLANS.”

I remember hearing old stories from my Grandmoms of life, and it didn't seem to involve so much "work" as it does today, and I question how things have changed. How do you feel about working? Are you happy working all the time or do you need alot of downtime?


  1. Nicole,
    I totally think that the amount of time a person needs to 'grow and develop' with their husband/partner/spouse is different per person and per couple! While Kevin might not need me to be home every nite I'd dream of having him home that often!

    I do think that work is a necessary evil and the lucky are those who find joy in their work daily or weekly. I was lucky to find a career I loved that gives me the flexibility of what I want to do on my off time too. I think because college is so often where you start to 'figure it out'.. sometimes people are 30 or 40 or even 50 until they figure out what job would truly bring them joy.

    If acupuncture is going to give you that life, then I say push now for a better later,, just like your pushing your budget to pay off stuff so that you can later have a better and bigger net or later go on an awesome vacay!

    I was lucky and grad school was an 'all at once' situation, but there was a few years when I too was working three jobs and doing an externship and classes, its a part of the process and its the main reason for not entering into college or grad school unless your 100% devoted to it.. its a lot of work and a lot of life and effort for something that won't make you happy on the other end.

    be thankful this month that you have a husband and family (and job and friends and coworker) that are all supportive of your dreams in any way they are formed!

  2. awww thanks D:) I really appreciate your comments and to be able to say how I feel on this thing and just vent about stuff. Sometimes it just gets frustrating, and I feel like I've been in school for so long, but hearing that you had felt that way during school actually makes me feel better and like there is an end of the tunnel...even though far off!

  3. i only work cuz i have to. if i had to choose, i'd work 8am-noon and have the rest of the day with my child.

    thanks for the shoutout to all the full time moms who work full time and go to school. it's hard, but worth it :)

  4. that sounds like a nice plan Allyson, that is totally realistic for you after computer school actually! You are so welcome for the shoutout, like I said you totally deserve it and about a thousand spa days! You and so many other moms who work, (in any capacity), go to school etc are so awesome to be able to do all that you do, Great Job girlfriend!!!

  5. I NEED DOWNTIME! You are so right! I need a nap as well.

  6. I think it's important to many of us to feel that we are contributing something to this world and to have pride in what we do. For some that pride comes from raising healthy, successful children and having a great family life, for others it's more tied to their jobs. All I know is, at the end of our lives, it will be the relationships we've made and family we've built that we'll look back on with pride. We won't really care that we worked 80 hours a week...

  7. Nic-

    This is such an important question- and one that has a different answer for everyone. As you know, I left a busy media career to be a stay at home mom. It is easily the hardest job I've ever had...BUT the stress level is much lower than my previous jobs because I really enjoy what I'm doing. I know I am making a big difference in a life. But for someone else, staying at home with a baby might not be fulfilling. For me the big equation is- how is your quality of life? If the stress of school and jobs and family are so stressful to you that you cant enjoy them, it's probably time to make a change. And lets face it, change is hard. It takes some guts to give up a job, or position that sounds good. It's kinda fun from an ego perspective to say your doing 5 million things. But can you do 5 million things well? I can only answer for myself- I can't. I can handle a few balls in the air, and after that everything suffers. For me, working and trying to take care of a baby the way I'd want to- would be impossible. But that doesn't mean it is for other people. I just know I would never get over it, if I missed all the growing and learning Molly is doing. I would not feel like I was spending any time with her if I was going to work at 9 am and coming home after 5! For me, working for my own family is much more rewarding than working for a corporation or a company. And so based on that I have chosen this particular path. I think each person has to figure out their own priorities though, what makes them happy, what they need in terms of down time- and what at the end of their life they will be most happy they did.

  8. I work part time. It gives me a good balance between my professional life and my personal life.


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