Complete Insight Behind the Negative Outlook of Work-Life Balance
As kids, when our teachers asked us to describe our ideal careers, the answer wasn’t so daunting.
Many of us came up with – astronauts, athletes, doctors, technologists, scientists, dancers, etc.
So, what changed since our childhood to this point in our adult lives?
Have we subconsciously decided to work in jobs we hate?
Let’s find out by reading further on why you may be in a job that you hate that also takes a great toll on your mental and physical health.
THE HISTORY BEHIND POOR WORK/LIFE BALANCE & IT’S LONG-TERM EFFECTS
According to research by the United States Department of Labor, less than 50% of employees took their paid vacation that was allotted to them.
The remaining – simply continued working and ignored their work-life balance causing unhappiness and severe hatred for their job in the long term.
Considering that in a similar study, 73% of the entire U.S. civilian workforce had access to paid leave and were allowed to take it – it begs the question – why would people continue to work instead of vacationing on the sandy beaches of some exotic coast sipping a glass of margarita?
Here are some of the most used reasons by employees for not taking vacation leave.
Fear of being replaced
Many employees according to Project Time Off fear that upon returning from their vacation would be faced with the horror of finding another person working at their desk.
Taking a vacation off for most employees would be a sign of vulnerability in their commitment and hence, while most employees would love to take time off, they continue working to please the gods of the company.
Company Culture doesn’t permit
Often companies have strict rules and clauses stating that if an employee is to take vacation leave, it must be mentioned during a grace period to ensure work operations aren’t interrupted. Company culture causes many employees to reject their vacation leave as their colleagues and superiors don’t often take kindly to someone going on a vacation while they are faced with an increased workload.
This chain reaction causes employees to feel insecure about taking a vacation that they are entitled to simply because of negative implications. There is an actual term called “Vacation-Shaming” where employees are usually faced with indirect abuse by their peers and seniors.
Stockpiling Vacation Leave
Companies often provide their employees with the option of rolling-over their unused vacation leave to the next annual term.
With this option, employees put off their vacation leave without taking them for years.
Some even prefer to convert the unused vacation leave into monetary perks such as a cash bonus or a vehicle.
A study by Travel Effect has shown that employees that usually stockpile their holidays end up not using it by the end of their tenure at the company.
This causes companies to provide more vacation leave roll-overs as they understand for every working day that their employee generates, the more profit they stand to make in the long run.
We understand why “Jack is a dull boy due to all work and no play”. Unfortunately, working nonstop causes employees several amounts of mental stress and it denies them from leading a normal life with their family and friends.
This vicious circle of not having time for ourselves and being unable to spend our hard-earned money causes many of us to stagger and continue overworking ourselves.
In a case from Japan that caused global outrage, a woman was pronounced dead due to prolonged work of logging in more than 159 hours of overtime in a single week.
This caused companies the world over to come up with new and better working conditions for their employees.
However, as labor statistics go, there isn’t enough change and many workers end up with mental fatigue due to poor work-life balance.
Here are some consequences resulting from a poor work-life balance in the long-term.
If the divorce stats of Flowing Data are anything to go by, then many married men and women are facing increased dissatisfaction, thanks to their occupational hazards.
Due to long work hours, men and women usually participate in excessive office affairs or end up with physical altercations with their family causing divorce rates to soar.
Low pay and high working hours are another reason for spouses to look for greener pastures. With a higher divorce percentage comes a low level of personal satisfaction.
The study also shows that with higher work-life balance the divorce rates for said professions are much lower than those with a poor work-life balance.
These statistics clearly indicate that finding yourself in a job that you hate can certainly spill into your family’s wellbeing.
Heart health is closely linked to what we eat, how often we get our physical activity and one important factor – how well we rest.
According to the Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, people that clocked more than 55 hours in any given week were at risk for developing cardiovascular complications.
It isn’t hard to connect the dots as to why heart diseases are more prevalent in people with a poor work-life balance. Let’s look at the following example –
John wakes up at 5:30 am to leave for work as a salesman at a retail company. He spends 14 hours a day trying to sell merchandise. His work begins at 7:00 am sharp and his manager is extremely strict with the timings.
Hence, John must leave an hour before his work. If John spends 14 hours a day, he’d leave from work at 11 pm every day and reach home at 12 am.
That gives him just 5 and a half hours to himself, so by the time he finishes supper and heads to bed at 1:30 am, he is left with just 4 hours of poor-quality sleep.
A healthy adult requires 7-8 hours of quality sleep to function well. As you can see in the above example, 4 hours of sleep causes our heart to race quicker and suffer from increased blood pressure. Hence, this leads to an increased risk of heart problems for people that overwork.
Without a doubt, working long hours into the night can cause overwhelming levels of fatigue to build up.
In the end, the extra hours won’t mean a thing as the productivity level stoops to an all-time low and by the next morning, the employee is in no mood to contribute towards the goals of the company.
Therefore, working overtime achieves no benefit for the company nor for the employee in the long-term.
Here are some of the biggest issues caused by a chronic case of fatigue:
- Increased depressive episodes
- An increase in sexual problems
- Drug addiction
- Decreased cognitive behavior
- Anger issues or irritability
- Lack of mental focus and poor concentration
- Weak immune system
These are just some of the core issues caused by depleted energy levels.
A poor work-life balance causes the employee to take more sick leaves causing the company to lose out on productivity.
Hence, it’s important to assess the right levels of maintaining a proper work-life balance to achieve maximum efforts as far as a professional career is concerned.
In the next section, we will understand the top reasons for people hating their jobs and how one can find a solution.
8 REASONS WHY YOU HATE YOUR JOB & HOW TO SOLVE THEM
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Unknown
While the above quote may speak the truth, the journey of finding a job that we are content with is a far more complex procedure.
Many of us settle in our jobs for years to make ends meet while others are coaxed by their family to follow in their footsteps.
Regardless of how we got into these jobs, universally we can all agree upon one aspect – If the job isn’t something worth waking up for, you probably hate your job.
Let’s understand some of the reasons as to why people hate their job.
1. Overwhelming Responsibility with No Reward
More responsibility doesn’t always mean you’ll be promoted during the next performance review.
When there is a high risk of responsibility and no reward at the end of it, you’ll usually end up feeling drained out and miserable. Words of appreciation by your boss just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Let’s look at this behavior at a more primal level, imagine having a horse run faster by dangling a carrot in front of him as you ride.
Eventually, the horse will realize that there is no incentive for his efforts and will refuse to budge.
In this scenario, you’ll notice that with no reward comes no effort and this is the case with many employees hating their jobs because of a high level of responsibility to take home and no compensation to make up for.
The next time you’re offered additional responsibilities such as projects and meetings, politely explain to your boss the situation you’re in and how you’ll be unable to fulfill the task.
If you’re worried that you’ll be negatively viewed at during your next performance review, remember that it’s the work you complete that speaks for your performance review and not the quantity.
If you are a valuable employee that completes your work on time, you’ll be considered for a promotion and completing more tasks isn’t going to boost your chances.
The more relaxed you are in your workplace, the better you’ll learn to love your work.
So when should you take on additional responsibilities?
The rule of the thumb to handle additional responsibilities is by working for the company for at least a good period of 2-3 years.
2. Poor Social Life
Are you always forgetting your spouse’s anniversary or was it forever since you last attended a close friend’s birthday party?
You could be stuck with a poor social life, thanks to putting your career in the driver’s seat.
In this state, you lose track of your weekends and before you know it, all the momentous occasions of your life have passed you and you’re left wondering “What happened?”.
Add to this your working hours are inconsistent, sometimes it’s 9-to-6, other times you’re asked to come early by 8 and leave by 10.
Does this seem familiar to you?
If you’re stuck in a long workday, you’re bound to feel restless and frustrated, let alone socialize, all you want to do is come home and get some much-needed rest.
This cycle of repeat and rinse can have a massive drain on your energy levels.
So how exactly do you exit this?
Time management is crucial when it comes to working less and achieving more. From the time you hit the office, you’ll need to prepare your work schedule beforehand and get work done faster. Let’s say you need to post a mail to your clients, prepare your draft the previous night after supper, and you’ll finish up work much earlier.
However, if the problem arises from your boss or manager giving you too much work. You’ll have two options, the first one is to communicate that you aren’t being paid enough to do the work that is assigned and that you’ll be adhering to the company’s timings.
If things don’t still work out, it might be time to send a mail to your senior management about your issues. Finally, if all things fail, it’s time to quit your company and join one that appreciates your work.
Remember, to always negotiate your work-life balance during the interview process to ensure you don’t end up with misunderstandings.
3. Unable to Advance Further
Let’s be fair. We all want to advance further in our careers and just when you think you’ll be promoted, you receive a negative confirmation in your mail.
So, what’s really happening behind closed doors?
You just can’t seem to move past a dead-end job and as days roll by you seem to descend to the bottom of the pile since you started, and you just can’t take it anymore.
Could it be your own performance?
Is the company at a bottleneck with many good recruits?
Without the answer, you’ll be a sad barbie that shows up to work only to another disappointing performance review on how you should work hard, and you’ll “soon” be promoted.
Slowly but surely, you’ll begin to lose passion for your job.
There is a term in the professional field for this and it’s called “Career Plateau”. In this plateau, the work you do is meaningless, and you’re trapped.
The solution for moving past this job is to first appraise yourself and see if you’re meeting the requirements set by the company.
Do a personal self-evaluation to find out by answering a few questions such as:
- List down all your major and minor accomplishments in the last 6 months.
- What goals have you completed since joining the company?
- Has there been a major contribution on your part since joining the company? Were you rewarded for your effort?
- How many projects did you lead in the last year?
- How many projects did you assist in the last year?
- Are you able to meet the talent requirement required by your organization?
- Did you have any sort of negative behavior since joining the job?
- List all the accolades and achievements/certificates you received since joining the job.
With all the above questions answered, you’ll have a better understanding of whether you are part of the reason for not being promoted or the company is simply ignoring your requests.
For the former, work on your issues individually, for the latter, request a one-on-one with your manager and put all these points on paper and report to him.
Ask him the reason why you aren’t being promoted. If possible, put forth the idea that other companies are hiring talent such as yours with better remuneration and benefits.
Fight your case with reasonable proof and you should be able to come out of this successfully.
4. Not Challenging Enough
According to an article in NeuroNation, at least 70% of Americans think they are too smart for their job and hence complain of stress and repeated commitments.
If you feel that a comfortable desk and a stable paycheck are all that is needed for a good life, think again.
Hating your job for being monotonous and no scope of knowledge is quite common in the professional field.
Here are 4 signs to tell you that you’re tired of your work due to its repetitive nature.
- You constantly say – “Not again, why do I have to do work of this nature” or “Can’t you let the junior team handle this?”
- When you look back your entire year and can’t remember a single achievement worth remembering.
- After reaching home, you realize that your energy levels have depleted due to boredom at work.
- You stay completely silent in board meetings and you let others talk it out. After all, the work isn’t worth your time.
If you have any of these following thoughts crossing your mind, you are undoubtedly suffering from a burnout phase and it’s time to seriously consider coming up with a solution.
The first solution is quite easy! Speak to your boss.
Tell him about offering you a new and exciting project. If you haven’t been promoted in a while, this is a good time to convince your boss that you’re ready for new challenges.
According to Brandy from The Muse, many employees usually never take the initiative to improve. Employees usually think about the long-term benefits of staying in a job and forgo the reason to challenge themselves.
That’s why most employees prefer to do their day-to-day tasks without questioning the upper management and this completely inhibits their career growth.
An employee could spend up to 5 years in the same position doing the same job every day with absolutely no hint of growth and this creates job stagnation. In the end, the individual ends up hating his work.
One way to put an end to job stagnation is by moving on to a new career field. Let’s say you’re a software programmer that specializes in Java, it’s time to learn and specialize in other languages such as Python and Ruby.
By increasing your knowledge you’ll serve other job roles while not experiencing the same stagnating effect. To grow, you’ll need to be in a constant process of learning.
5. Micromanaging Boss
A micromanaging boss is someone who finds any good excuse to mess with your daily work by asking for accountability and thorough supervision. In short, a micromanaging boss is –
- A complete demotivator
- An entity that creates self-doubt in you
- Creates internal conflict between you and a co-worker by constant comparisons
- Is never satisfied by your work, no matter how good it is
- Will constantly interrupt and question your progress much before the actual deadline
As you see, a micromanaging boss is no fun and it becomes a hassle to perform your daily duties when you’re assigned to one.
In fact, a study conducted by Indiana University goes on to demonstrate that micromanaging bosses are detrimental to the mental health of the employee.
What this means is due to the constant questioning and arguments with your boss, you’ll end up with additional stress and this can impact your overall health.
A micromanager boss isn’t the end of the world. Here are 3 ways you can deal with your hellish boss.
a. Lower their expectations
Simple. By lowering their expectations of your work, you’ll match up to their expectation and you’ll be let off the hook with just a few words every time. Never try and oversell your performance to a micromanaging boss.
For example, if you can finish a project in 5 days, present him a deadline of 8 days. He will be impressed when you give it early.
Micromanaging bosses are like people that suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They demand that everything be perfect, or they will fault you. An excellent way to combat this OCD is to anticipate what they’ll say next and quickly complete it.
If he asks you to finish preparing the presentation, anticipate that your boss will ask you to present it at the board meeting and be prepared with the full speech.
In this way, you’ll never give him a chance to criticize you.
c. Distract your boss
Micromanaging bosses usually hand over their own tasks to other employees in the office. One way to get them to take back charge is by motivating them or by demonstrating why the company needs their leadership.
Demonstrate how the company is starting to plummet and that the employees need the assistance of their leader to lead the team in the right direction.
Distracting them from their obvious micromanaging tactics usually works in keeping their eyes off your work.
6. Job Insecurity
Without a second’s thought, one of the most obvious reasons for people experiencing a poor work-life balance is because they are afraid, they may be kicked off the company.
Unemployment isn’t fun, and it doesn’t brighten your day when you have bills to pay and no way to secure payments.
That’s why employees seek to stay in their current job roles living out miserable work lives with no complaints.
Job insecurity is such a mind-boggling psychological effect that researchers from the Whitehall study came up with shocking conclusions on job insecurity.
Participants in the studies suffered from obesity, depression, decreased heart rate, sleep apnea, and other illnesses.
The study discussed how insecurity affects the participants in a negative manner and how it affects men and women in an adverse way.
The uncertainty of your future and always having the fear of losing your job is a real psychological threat that haunts professionals all over the globe. Here are 4 ways to treat this psychological effect.
Life is full of problems. There’s no way around it. Even the rich and successful come across daily problems, the only difference is how you handle them.
Unemployment is scary but putting your health at risk makes you unhealthy and unemployed. Do you want to deal a double blow to your life? We didn’t think so.
The best thing to do is to calm down and focus on one single day throughout your life and that day is – Today. Don’t worry about yesterday and don’t focus on tomorrow. Concentrate on what you can achieve for today.
b. Speak with a fellow colleague
When you know others suffer from the same problems, it’s easier to talk and disperse your worries. A good way is to find a work buddy that you can spend time with after work and talk about it.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people in your work suffer from this syndrome and you’ll be able to learn how they deal with the situation and introduce the same tips to your life.
c. Have a goal mapped out
The future is a scary space for those who haven’t bothered to venture inside it.
However, if you can map out your life, you’ll financially save up enough money to last you through your unemployment period.
Psychologically, you’ll feel better going to office knowing you have some finances to keep you going when you’re fired or off the workforce.
d. Inspire yourself
Don’t always focus on the negative aspects of your job, concentrate on the positives of having a job.
Inspire yourself by reading autobiographies and understand how successful people managed to turn their lives around during a bad time.
By putting yourself in their shoes, you’ll be in a much better frame of mind to act in a positive mindset rather than worrying negatively about being unemployed.
7. Non-alignment of Company’s values
Ever so often, we join a company and never fully align ourselves with the company’s goals and motives.
For example, let’s say you’ve been employed as an advocate for your company to oversee lawsuits and other legal filings. In time, you understand that your company doesn’t really care about the environment or society and is doing things away from the legal route.
Although you don’t fully support your company, you’re an accomplice of it by working for them. In this case, you’ll always find it difficult to love what you do as an advocate since you don’t really want to be doing the job.
When you and the company never see eye-to-eye, you’re always going to hate your job.
An employee can only love what he does when he believes in the company’s personal mission statement.
When you’re on opposite ends of the battleground with moral viewpoints, then you’ll have quite a difficult time working for your company.
So why do people work despite different ideologies?
Simple, for the fat paycheck at the end of the month and the job benefits that go with it. The question is – Is it worth it?
We believe it’s not fine for an employee to spend half of his entire professional life working for morals he doesn’t believe in.
One textbook solution to solve the issue of working for a company you don’t believe in is – to quit.
Yes, it’s a very standard approach but at the same time, it’s incredibly effective for your future.
By spending another year working, you’ll only deny yourself the chance to be working in a company that you align your beliefs for.
Be honest to yourself and take the leap of faith. If finances are a problem, then think about saving up on money before you quit.
Once you’ve got the right amount of finances, it’s best to give interviews in companies that you’d like to work for and see how that goes.
It’s a long journey but a self-fulfilling journey once you’ve reached the end of it. You’ll be happy that you made the jump.
Every employee loves to be the center of attention occasionally when they’ve done something remarkable for their company but when the spotlight is stolen, and you’re pushed on to your next project, it’s not an easy pill to swallow.
The corporate world is full of big bad wolves ready to get an easy meal from the work of others, in this case – you.
So instead of feeling like a pushover, you survive in a merciless environment and begin to dread going to work. What does an average employee do next?
Does he scream at the top of his lungs at the senior management until he gains recognition?
Does he quietly take the abuse that is being meted out to him?
Here are a few solutions below to consider when you feel the company is ignoring your efforts.
Your efforts are unnoticed by your superiors and you simply don’t have any more fuel left over to continue working with passion. These 3 ways show you how to tackle the problem in an effective manner.
a. Simply Walk Out
Yes. We mean quit your job. Once you’ve taken a drastic step to resign from your post, you’ll have the attention of your boss and all the senior management. At this point, you’ll either be asked to rethink your decision and provide a reason. State the obvious reason that your efforts are going unnoticed and that you’re looking for a company that truly values you as a professional for the work you do.
In this scenario, your boss will have no choice but to adhere to your demands or lose out on a valuable employee.
He will demonstrate the reason behind why you weren’t acknowledged, and you can create a deal that gives you credit for all the work you perform. It’s that simple.
However, if they are willing to let you go as an employee, either they’re ignorant or you were being unrealistic of how valuable you were to the team and might need to go over things before you submit your resignation.
b. Increasing Visibility
Sometimes your efforts may not be enough to catch the eye of the upper management. Karen Dillon, author of HBR Guide to Office Politics, states it’s necessary to prove your worth above and beyond by stating your name after every presentation as clearly as you can and increase your visibility by ensuring people don’t just hoard the credit of your work.
Write down your name clearly on the project and provide credits to your team while presenting the project to your clients.
Stand your ground by accepting large projects and playing a decisive role in them.
Sometimes you’ll need one big opportunity to really get your name in the minds of your company heads.
Maybe you have unrealistic expectations, if you’ve just joined your company block, remember there are other co-workers ahead of you working for years.
Consider asking them how they were recognized by the company for their efforts.
You’ll probably get an idea on how much time it takes for you to be in the spotlight by speaking to your fellow colleagues.
In the end, it’s all about having patience and waiting for a single opportunity to bask in the glory of your office mates.
Speak with your boss and indirectly mention that it would mean the world to you if you could get your name credited in the upcoming project.
This is sending a silent and non-aggressive message over that you’d like to be rewarded for your efforts.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON BALANCING A NEGATIVE WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Adopting a poor work-life balance is the fault of the employee and not the manager itself.
If you’re silent and don’t raise up the concerns you’re facing at work, the managers or bosses will assume you’re happy and content with your workplace.
Sometimes the best thing to do is pour your heart out to your superiors.
For better or for worse, at least you’ll be satisfied at the end of it that you did something about your situation and didn’t just roll over and take their punishment.
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