I was amused but also total agree with the article I read recently in the Guardian about being married to work. Link below:
I worked for an employer where the work culture was ‘full on’ and I was on call 24/7. I would get calls during the night to resolve issues – or just to confirm that they were not important and could be left until people were in the office during office hours to fix. It was a work hard play hard culture – I had fun there and I did enjoy it. I felt like I belonged.
At the time I was of an age where I just thought I was getting on and needed to be like this to climb the ladder and succeed. It did eventually take its toll on me as my relationship was destroyed – partly by this but other factors were at play – as my partner didn’t like the amount of times I had to cancel personal activities due to work commitments and expectations. It was double-edged because that work paid for lots of things and kept the roof over our heads, it also meant he wasn’t under pressure to earn. ( He came to realised this afterwards)
When there I remember talking to a work colleague who worked in a different department and they spend a lot of their time travelling and her husband had started to say that it was too much and she had realised that she was as he said ‘married to the job’. It was taking its toll as those that did well were the ones who were single or had less dependencies in their personal life. She eventually left and realised after a bit of a decompression that she agreed with her husband because she was inside this ‘work bubble’ she couldn’t see it. Once she step outside she realised how it was affecting her life and even her health. She didn’t realise how poor her general health was until she stop, she told me how it leaving had really enabled her to change her life for the better.
After my relationship split I realised how married to the job I was. I ended up doing more hours as I had no home life and I realised how I had no non work friendships. It is still the same now, I don’t really have a social circle because I have invested all my time into my work to the determent of my personal life. I spend so much time travelling I just don’t get time to step out of it.
The last year has made me realise how bad that has been for me. I left my job at the end of 2019 with the plan to spend some time cultivating a more balanced personal life only to find the pandemic has trashed that. Now that lockdown is being eased again maybe I will be able to start trying to grow a social network. We just don’t realise the bubble we get into when working. Our work is not ‘us’ and I have fallen foul of the ‘work is my status’ and had that tag of ‘workaholic’. I was so overweight on the work side of the work/life balance that I have some serious rebalancing work to do.
Hindsight is a good thing, I would tell my younger self to not neglect the life side of the equation but what is done is done. I now need to find a way of getting a better work/life balance. With the pandemic in play I am struggling to find a part-time role which suits me. I would like some locally based work so I can start to make some local friendships and start to cultivate a social network for real. I am not really feeling the ‘pull’ to go back to a full time job – all of which have job descriptions implying if not explicitly expecting long hours and high work demands. All this is making me want to just retire and step off the treadmill and work on getting my finances in order so I can be truly FI and just live off this until I reach state retirement age and draw my state pension and my deferred DB pension.
I read the summary of the ‘Die with Zero’ book and it has made me think. I could use these principles to be FI and just kick the work dependency and just pick up a job when I feel like it rather than feel I have to have a job to fit in with family expectations. I am starting to ‘slow down’ I have taken time to decompress fully but I am starting to get there, I think.