Monday, 16 July 2012

Work to live or Live to work?

I have been thinking about this question the whole time I was on Annual Leave.  Do I work to live or live to work?

I asked my husband the same question and he said that he “lives to work”. I am the work-a-holic huh!

I have had a number of different jobs in my working life:
. Laboratory Technologist
. Factory worker
. Office cleaner
. Sales persons
. Mobile Phone sales
. Systems tester
. Business Analyst
. Project Manager
. Lead Business Analyst
. Senior Business Analyst
. Consultant

When I first joined National Mutual as a Systems Tester, I was a contractor and it took me only 14 days to find this job.  I was grateful to have been given this opportunity.  I quickly became interested in learning from the Business Analysts working there. 

Within 3 months I was made permanent and not long after that I was also quickly given a promotion. At the time I remember working normal Office hours, 9 to 5.  What I did not realise at the time was that I was made permanent and given a promotion simply based on my work ethic and not because of the amount of hours I pumped into the company.

As soon as I was given more responsibility I felt as though I needed to step up my dedication and ensure that I did not let anyone down. So I simply started working 10, 12 then 14 hour days for free, meaning I didn’t even get paid overtime.  I would’ve been 23-24 years old and started work at like 7:30am then would easily work to 8:30pm.

I nearly lost my husband at the time, but you see I didn’t even notice what I was doing.  I was so consumed with “making sure I did a good job” and “ensuring I didn’t let anyone down”  that I did not really notice that I was losing my husband. Very selfish right? I honestly didn’t even notice what I was doing because I just so consumed.

It took a lot of fighting and screaming from my husband before “I woke up” so to speak.  Things did get better, I got better!  I ensured that the 8 hours I spent at work was more productive.  If you work in IT and you work on projects there will always be “crunch” time. On well planned projects it usually is around the end of testing towards Implementation, it is just the way it is.

The last Client I was working for the project was poorly planned and the crunch time was always on.  So I was working stupid crazy hours, not every day but very regularly.  I also started working on the weekends.  Rylie and Lilly was 9 months old when I started working at IQ and this last client.

I had been made redundant from National Mutual / AXA as a result of the GFC, so again I was simply grateful to have been offered a job at IQ.  The Easter long weekend I worked over 24 hours straight, my first mothers day with my twins I spent sleeping as I had worked 22 hours straight. Every long weekend for nearly I year was spent Testing systems implementation mainly at ungodly hours.

Now at this Client I again have started the same patterns again not as bad but still bad enough. Is the client to blame or me? Honestly I believe both.  The Project is very poorly planned actually I have not seen a plan yet.  Me yes I am completely to blame, yet again when given additional responsibility I felt as though I needed “Prove” myself not only to this Client but also to my Employer.

Recognising this pattern is a very big step for me.  I just need to continue to communicate with my husband and continue to write and question the need to work such long hours. Overtime and additional hours and pay is sometimes great but not at the cost of my health and family.

Yesterday I “Lived to work” but today I choose to “work so that I can live”.

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