Suffering for your art: when work becomes your life

This post is coming to you from the depths of my first ten weeks in my new job.

I’ve been on highs, I’ve been on lows.

I’ve felt inspired and motivated like never before. I’ve felt frustrated and lost in equal measure.

I’ve never worked with such a (scarily) switched on group of people. For the first time, I’ve actually had moments where I’ve felt like I could be a little bit out of my depth.

Then I slap myself, get a grip, and realise that it’s just the sleep deprivation talking. Oh yes, while I’m certainly not bored, I am very, very, tired.

Now that I’ve given up all pretence of exercising given the pitch black mornings, and freezing cold ground, I ignore my BMF alarm and sleep until way past 7am. As soon as I wake up, I reach for my phone and check my emails, just to make sure nothing has gone off the rails overnight. With offices in different time zones, you never quite know what awaits you.

By 9am I’m in the office (not ours, as we’re still a virtual team, but our obliging agencies put us up) and I’ve responded to half a dozen emails. I work solidly until 6:50pm, juggling multiple telco’s, when I nip over to Soho to meet friends and have dinner at 7pm, before heading home and working from 10pm until midnight. Then I force myself to bed, where I lie awake thinking of all the things I didn’t get around to doing.

Then I get up and do it all again the next day.

My cooking mojo has disappeared. I can count on one had the quality meals I’ve served up to my other half since we got married, and I started this new job.

The house is a wreck. Grocery shopping is out the window.

Although my knowledge of Soho restaurants that don’t require booking has increased tenfold.

But how do I break this cycle? When it isn’t just me who’s overworked, it’s an office wide epidemic. When the VP’s go on “holiday” but end up on telcos. When every single person is running a million miles an hour, and juggling more balls than they can handle?

It’s hard to effect a change in work ethic, when it’s an ethos that’s carried through the company. And the difference is, we all believe in what we do, and we love the brand we work on.

There will always be frustrations, in whatever job you have. What makes the difference and keeps you going is whether you believe in what you’re doing. Whether you, despite the stress, enjoy what you do.

And I have to admit, I kind of like it.

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Did somebody say “glutton for punishment”?

* Image courtesy of stock.xchng

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2 thoughts on “Suffering for your art: when work becomes your life

  1. Live in the moment, yes, but keep an eye on the future. Is what you are doing sustainable? Is it leading your career in a good direction? Free advice :-). Oh, and, yes, just about everyone is in that boat…the trick, as you have indicated, is to love what youbare doing.

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