It isn’t odd for most people to identify themselves with the career they have or the employer they work for. Realistically, most individuals see their work colleagues more than they see their loved ones during the week.
Often individuals who work on a manager’s salary or who work more than one job may suffer from their work/ lifestyle being unbalanced. However, it is easy to get caught up in work and live vicariously through your employer. Most employers strive to encourage their employees to continuously contribute more to the team, even outside of work hours. Most employees may be enticed to devote all of their energy towards work, hoping to be rewarded, as the company grows, for their countless efforts.
When should individuals draw the line when their personal time is continuously being allocated towards work?
I am confident many will disagree with my point of view on this topic; however, I don’t believe any employee should allow their employer to bother them on their own personal time. Most employers feel that because they are financing their employees’ livelihood, that they are entitled to reach their employees at any time. Regardless if it is urgent or not, I don’t believe a manager or co-worker should have to disrupt any employee’s personal time. It is one thing to ask an employee to work overtime to meet a deadline; it is another to call an employee at home, several hours after they left the office, to resolve an issue.
Have you ever been in this position before? Working day and night for an employer to meet a deadline? Or worse, you met the deadline only to discover the task was not needed on the set deadline; thus causing you to contemplate the task could have been completed during normal working hours.
Working as an accountant within both the public and private sector I realized a few unfortunate realities. First, a company cannot survive without a solid accounting staff; therefore, if management does not agree with accounting then there will always be conflicts. Also, everyone is replaceable; therefore, employees should not constantly push their lifestyle to the sidelines in hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. As well, unless you are the owner of the company, it is almost impossible to be immortalized within any company. Finally, some things in life are more important than chasing promotions.
Do you find it difficult to request time off of work?
Is it difficult to schedule vacations?
How many times have your evening plans been canceled because of last minute meetings?
It isn’t fair for employees to be mistreated; however, with the current unstable employment market the employers are in the driver’s seat. I am not the rebellious type, but I have repeatedly stood my ground, in the past, when work interfered with my personal life. Often, most employers might understand your situation if it is brought to their attention in a calm manner.
I remember one of my previous employers who always had late meetings, which I believed, did not always require my input. Most of the time the meetings did not involve my department and it was not relevant to my role. I explained how I had other commitments (i.e. training for my boxing match), and I would prefer to have the meetings scheduled earlier otherwise I will not be able to attend. I stated that my commitments in my personal life are just as important as having my job. The reality is my personal endeavors are more important to me than any job. I work to live, not live to work.
After an incident that occurred years ago, I also confirm the priority of my deadlines before I begin the 50 – 70 hour workweeks to complete the project. I once worked for a public company, in the renewable energy industry, and I was assigned to prepare a detailed analysis of the company’s overhead of the past 5 fiscal periods. Unfortunately, the deadline fell on the same week as my family reunion and I missed most of the festivities. I delivered the report, on time, only to discover that management had other priorities to attend to. I missed everything, and I missed a chance to spend time with my now late Uncle.
It might not be easy to tell your employer no, but you owe it to yourself to have personal time. What is the point of working day and night if you cannot enjoy the pay out from your efforts? Has your employer promised you a lucrative future and several years have already passed; yet your long hours are still the same and the pay has not increased as expected?
If you feel pressured into working long hours out of fear that you will lose your job then it may be time to revisit your budget. Create an emergency account to protect your livelihood, if you are ever laid off, save up to six months of your bare necessities (i.e. food, shelter, clothing, etc.) then work towards establishing an ideal work/ lifestyle balance. If your employer can’t see eye to eye with you, then it is time to find an employer who respects your personal time.
It is your life, live it the way you want.
Rafael loves to travel and devotes his time working with individuals making the leap from employee to employer. As CEO of Reis Financial Solutions Inc, he provides management accounting services for small to medium sized businesses, balancing wealth strategies that are favorable for both the business owners and the business itself.
Category: Edu & Growth