Are you afraid to speak up for yourself or draw boundaries at work because it feels like everything will fall apart?
Then it is time to speak your truth and draw boundaries that take care of you. It may even be time to walk away. That’s right–time to walk away. I am saying this upfront because as I was searching Google for phrases like “how do I know when to quit,” and “how to achieve work-life balance,” I read a lot of useless material. Some of it suggested that people need to keep focused on the job and work harder. Instead, to make the decision, I decided to speak my truth. It worked because it didn’t. As things fell apart, I discovered it was time to walk away.
Over-Responsibility Leads to Resentment
One trend that leads to unhappiness at work is the tendency to accept responsibility for work that is outside of our job description. The line between our responsibility and others’ responsibilities is easily blurred in the workplace. This can happen either because we have a tendency to cross those boundaries or others invite us to. If we are crossing the boundaries, we are seeing others as not capable. If others are inviting us to cross them, they are acting as not capable.
Either way, if we choose to pick up others’ slack, we might temporarily feel good (get lots of positive attention for all the work we can do), but ultimately will end up feeling resentful. In extreme cases, we may feel that we can’t go back to our previous workload because “Everything will fall apart.”
Picking up Slack Isn’t Always Bad
I am not opposed to teamwork. On healthy teams, there is a give and take synergy that is energizing and motivating! I love being a part of a team where individuals on the team take turns picking up the slack when needed. On functional teams, those picking up the slack are recognized and rewarded. Rather, in this blog, I am referring to situations in which you KNOW this is not the case. There is no give and take, and rather than energizing, the work is depleting.
Only 24 Hours in a Day: Where Does the Time to Overwork Come From?
To keep working at an increased pace, we have to take the time from someplace else. Usually, we take it from our personal and family life. Yet, we are responsible for ourselves and our family. When we overextend ourselves at work, we suffer. Our families suffer.
I Know From Experience
I know because my husband and I recently realized we were both working more than we wanted to. We were miserable. Our children were acting out. Life felt like a marathon of sprints. We were exhausted.
A part of me wanted to stay and a part of me wanted to quit. I decided to use the tool of truth. When I started speaking my truth, I started to realize what I really wanted. And that I couldn’t get it by staying. I know because I asked. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Many employers will work with you. Mine offered a compromise. I wasn’t willing to do that. Right now, with younger children, I am simply no longer willing to compromise time I won’t get back.
Your Truth is a Tool
Your truth is a tool. When you speak from it and act in it, not only will you have integrity, you will discover if where you are is the place you want to be. If others validate you and respond to you appropriately, great! If they don’t, and the only way to stay is to disconnect from your truth, it might be time to walk away.
Sometimes you need to let things fall apart, so they can fall in place.
I did. The world as I knew it fell apart. It changed drastically. My children stopped acting out and started connecting at home and thriving academically. I stopped receiving nearly weekly emails from teachers. Just yesterday, I received two accolades from two different teachers.
As for me, I work less. I pick up my children after school and have time for myself. I’ve got my life back. (I’ve got MY back).
Not Everyone Can Quit
Quitting a job isn’t an option for everyone. It is an option for many working professionals. Yet, we have all sorts of tricks up our sleeves to convince ourselves why we need to stay overworked and miserable. Bottom line: we don’t.
Since quitting, I also have time for volunteer work. This may not have been a goal at the time, but it is now. This is important so we can create a life that works for us AND help create a world that works for everyone. Like I said, not everyone can afford to quit a miserable job. Many families are lacking quality time. And many voices and truths are missing. When we align with our truth and prioritize connecting and relationships, however, it can’t help but have a positive effect that ripples out to others. We won’t build a connecting world without building a connected self/family/life.
It’s time to redesign your life so that you can live in connection with the people who matter to you, and help create a world in which all people matter.