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Tales of a coffee-holic: Occupational hazard


Work isn’t everything.

As someone who’s worked closely with the elderly, I can tell you that in one’s golden years, the fondest recollections of a life of events never involve how well you crafted expense reports or how many hours you spent laboring over spreadsheets at your desk.

Although one’s occupation might be an integral part of one’s identity, it doesn’t make up all of who and what a person is. Being a reporter is a big part of who I am, I work a lot and I think about work quite a bit when I’m not working. I probably read an unhealthy amount of news on the weekend and before and after work. However, I don’t think being a reporter should be the only important thing in my life or the only thing that’s ever on my mind.

I’ve recently noticed a trend among some people my age, especially on Facebook, of bragging about how many hours they’ve worked or how much they’ve accomplished at work while allowing personal relationships to slide.

Although I have a big issue with laziness when it comes to work, we all need to realize our job is not the be-all and end-all of who we are. Of course I think my job is important and I want to do the best I can and I’m sure most of you feel the same.

I don’t believe that work should come before the people we love. I’m aware that some don’t have the luxury of putting family before work. If your livelihood depends on being on the road for weeks at a time or you have to choose between working long hours and starving, working like a dog IS putting your family first.

But ignoring those you love while ticking off all the things you accomplished in a day will not bring you happiness in the end. While your boss and co-workers might appreciate all the extra hours you’ve put in, your wife might be at home feeling neglected, an affair with the young, chiseled landscaper looking more and more appealing. While you might feel a huge sense of accomplishment at finishing a big project, your kids might wonder why you haven’t been there to cheer on their efforts in sporting events and activities.

Other countries allow a month off in the summer and ample vacation time throughout the year. Recent articles have suggested that we should place productivity over hours worked, that bosses shouldn’t worry about employees remaining present from eight to five, but should be more concerned about what workers accomplish in the amount of time they do spend working.

The point is, if work is the only thing you live for, you’re probably lacking in other areas. Expand your horizons and grow into the well rounded person you could be. Finding balance between all the various parts of your life is key to performing well in any of them. If you spend all your time working, it’s hard to get new perspective and to form creative ideas concerning your work. It might be a crutch to dive into work when other parts of our life aren’t going so well, but avoiding those problems isn’t the answer.

Time spent agonizing over a report or a deadline will not be what you look back on during your golden years. Time spent with loved ones and memorable experiences with significant others are what truly matter in the end.

I may very well make it to the end of life having written millions of words and having informed thousands of people of the issues that are going on around them, which will give my life a sense of meaning and accomplishment, I hope. However, I think my most heartfelt reflections will be on time spent with family and friends.


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