A couple of years ago, after my graduation, I got a job. I was working with a tours and travel company. At first, I was excited since I managed to secure a job. But I wasn’t prepared to face a new world full of stumbling blocks.
As a fresh graduate, there is a lot of pressure that comes with getting a position. You are likely to be assigned to routine tasks since you do not have any experience. Before long, I found myself handling all the routine tasks at the office. I would get coffee for the other employees or run errands for the manager. This was the only way I could prove myself to the boss and get the “cool assignments”.
I would be the first person to arrive at the office and the last person to leave. I spend most of my time at the office. Even on weekends, I was just a call away. Anytime something needed to be done, I would avail myself.
Time moved so fast I didn’t realize the damage I had done to myself. My belief in myself and the ability to perform started getting compromised. However, I didn’t get a wake-up call until I began having difficulties sleeping. Instead of sleeping, I would spend my nights tossing and turning. But I was determined to move forward and get an assignment.
Unfortunately, my manager was more concerned with my professional development than my personal development. He would send me on errands even when I was not feeling well. This job meant a lot to me, and I didn’t want to squander it. I wanted to earn a seat on the table with my impressive work ethics. Looking back, I think I wore the workaholic badge with honour.
As time went by, I couldn’t manage to balance my life. I stopped working out since I couldn’t get enough time. Instead of cooking at home, I would eat takeaway foods. Sometimes I would have no energy to perform the assigned tasks.
My final straw was when I passed out at work. I had been standing the whole day, and I didn’t get time to eat. When I woke up on my hospital bed, I was alone. I had no one to take care of me; I lost all my friends because I couldn’t get time to hang out with them. This was my wake-up call. How could someone neglect their health this much? From that moment, I embarked on a journey to work on myself.
Changes in Pursuit of Happiness
My wake-up call came at the right time. Most of the people going through a similar experience think that the solution is to quit the job. But how will you survive? Who will take care of your bills? These are some of the questions that crossed my mind. As I sat at that hospital bed, I felt that I needed to make some changes.
However, quitting this job was not one of the changes. So I decided to take a break from work and think. After a week, I came up with a work schedule. This schedule would give me time to work out, prepare my meals, sleep well and still have time to hang out with my friends. On weekends, I would take Zumba dancing classes. You know what they say about Zumba, it helps to de-stress. It triggers the release of endorphins which results in positive feelings throughout the body.
Over the years, I have learned to fight for my happiness. I go for a long walk, I sleep well, and I still handle all my work activities on time. Today, I am happy because I still earned a seat at the table, and I feel like myself again.
Advice to Anyone Going Through a Similar Experience
To anyone going through a similar experience, don’t wait for things to get worse. Am glad my wake-up call came early. Don’t wait until you pass out at work, act now.
Here is a list of things that can help;
1. Get enough sleep
Always make sure you sleep for at least 7 hours. It helps to replenish your mind and increase your productivity and performance on your job.
2. Always take time off work to relax
Whether you start reading, take a walk, listen to music or decided to visit friends and family, think about how you relax. Always make time for these things. They help you to unwind.
3. Get organized
Most people experience burnout because they spend time worrying that some important things will slip off through the cracks. Instead of worrying, get organized and create a list of essential things to be done then prioritize.
Happiness is an inside job; nobody can give it to you. It is something that you should want, and you should choose to work for it. Although a wake-up call is important for transforming someone’s life, you should not just sit and wait for things to get worse.
Don’t let work destroy you, seek yourself again. Remember, if you dropped dead today, your boss would replace you within a week. Take care of yourself.