So I’m a fairly recent college graduate. I graduated in May 2010 at the absolute bottom of the recession. Very few jobs were available at the time. Morale was low. And lets face it, we all pretty much assumed we weren’t good enough despite our degrees. And, as many of my friends did, I took the ultimate plunge: I moved in with my grandmother.
She was incredibly supportive – I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. But I went to school for a reason, and that was to be successful. After 15 months, 500 applications, 62 phone interviews, 14 real interviews and enough rejection to last a lifetime, I landed my first real job. I got to move out of grandma’s house and begin my real life!It was a huge relief and at the same time an even larger weight being placed on my shoulders. If it’s this hard to find a job, is it even harder to keep one? So I began work. I threw myself into my job. I decided to be the best. And assumed that if I commit every second of my life to work, it would happen.
That was last March. And today, for the first time in the 14 months I’ve had this job, I left the office for lunch.
I know this sounds little. But when you work this hard just to find a job, the last thing I’d ever want to do is jeopardize that. And anyone who knows me know how hard I work when I’m determined and how much I do actually love it. But in the process of being dedicated to my job I forgot that I need time for me too, and those little moments like having lunch with a friend or escaping for 15 minutes for coffee really are important. And I’m important as well. Over time this intense dedication to work took it’s toll on me, and I began to realize that if I want to have jobs I love for the rest of my life, I have to make time for my life. Work isn’t and can’t be everything. There is more to being a great employee than just working hard. Because who wants to work with someone who’s unhappy all the time?
Today was a small step in re-prioritizing my life. I will always care about my job, and will give 100%. But learning how to turn that off and have fun is important too. After all, I’m only 24 once. So that club sandwich I ate with a friend today? Probably the best sandwich of my life.