by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
Busy is a good thing, and in a time of double digit unemployment, it’s a really good thing. But when does the work/leisure balance tilt too far? In my case, it tilted too far last week, and something had to go. What went was a writing job that had potential but also added enough stress that it interfered with the real joys of my life.
When I look back at the month of August, I see little else than researching and rewriting: two chores I usually enjoy. In this case though, they became a monster. This monster consumed my days and weekends and even invaded my sleep. Other jobs either gathered dust or were not given the time they deserved. But most of all, this monster killed the joys in my life. Perhaps kill is too strong of a word, but it certainly severely battered my joys. Even my two blogs suffered, and I missed writing them.
I realized at a certain point that my monster had the best of me, but, hey—I’m no quitter. I stubbornly plodded on. One day last week I told my husband that I got another job, and with a raised eyebrow, he said, “What are you going to let go?” It didn’t take me long to decide, and once I made the decision, I felt light.
I have always loved work especially when my work was writing, but the lesson here was that not all writing is a good fit. I felt a pang of irresponsibility; although, I knew I was a pool of a large group of writers and wouldn’t even be missed. But I take pride in being a professional and my ability to conform to any situation, and I had to accept that I needed to revise that statement to almost all situations. It was only the second time in my life that I walked away from a job feeling that I didn’t fulfill my commitment even though both times, the commitment was to only to me.
Now I feel that the balance has returned, and I was reminded that none of us can take on everything. In order to be a good teacher, writer, and employee, I have to set and meet reasonable goals.
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