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7 Reasons To Apologize for Working Too Hard

7 Reasons To Apologize for Working Too Hard

Everyone’s at it, you know. Working overtime for more hours than are healthy, sacrificing the time you really want to relax and enjoy life in for an extra bit of heft in your monthly paycheck. As a generation, we’re all working too hard, and this is a real problem. This is not an endorsement of slacking off by any means; but working to excess, to the point of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual exhaustion, all in the name of elusive praise, stubborn pride, or that all-important money, is not healthy.

With more people than ever reporting work burnout and finding themselves disenchanted with their jobs – which they’d previously found enjoyable and fulfilling – it seems that our Western culture of making everything quicker, faster, and more demanding is taking its toll on our lives.

So, if you’re sliding down that slippery slope and working too hard, you may need to apologize for these seven things:

1. You’re be damaging your relationship.

One of the most destructive things that working too hard can do is ruin your relationship. Spending endless hours at the office or on conference calls drains away time and energy that could be better spent celebrating your bond with the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with. Too many relationships have ended due to work commitments that could have been reduced if not for a culture of competition and reckless devotion to the world of work.

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One of the simplest ways to help keep a relationship a top priority is to make a recurring date night. It doesn’t have to be every Thursday night at the same place at the same time, but by devoting a solid amount of time where the rest of the world is of no concern, you’ll help keep your relationship happy and thriving.

2. Your loved ones need more of your time.

The true heart of your life should always be yourself and your loved ones, be they friends or family. Working too hard can severely deplete your energy, leaving none left for those you hold dear. Simply put: working too hard will damage your children, friends and spouse.

Carving out chunks of time for your family in a hectic work schedule may seem like a daunting feat, but when managed right, it can help balance out the demands of living in an increasingly hectic 21st-century life. Make sure you all eat together at least two nights a week. Also, make commitments with friends to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

3. You’re neglecting your duties at home.

If you’re working too hard, your home can fall apart without you even realizing it. Coming home to a place that is smelly, cluttered, and full of trash and discarded clothes cannot be beneficial to your mental health.

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So take time off if you need to, or cut back on unnecessary commitments so that you can get your house in order. Spend a weekend doing the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning and doing all that necessary stuff that makes the space where you eat, sleep and relax both habitable and enjoyable. Working too hard isn’t an excuse for getting your home environment into a toxic state, and the sooner you clear the dishes, change the sheets and sort the clutter, the sooner you’ll be feeling the positive benefits.

4. You’re focusing too much on money.

It’s symptomatic of the 21st-century way of living, but too much of peoples’ lives these days focuses on money, money, money. While I’m certainly not advocating giving up your worldly possessions, everyone could do with giving up their fixed gaze upon money.

The best way to focus on the bigger picture here is to imagine time as a currency – you have no idea how much you have, but every day you lose a little chunk of it, like someone slowly draining away pennies and dollars from your savings account, and you can’t stop it. What do you do? If you keep treating money like the most important thing in the world, hoarding money like a Dickensian villain will only make you lose the things that are truly important in life: love, family, relationships, your creativity and your spirituality. For an immediate transformation, go and volunteer with a local charity and see how giving your time to help those less fortunate stacks up against working too hard so you can keep on keeping up with the Joneses.

5. You’re losing your sense of fun.

Life is meant to be fun, isn’t it? Maybe not all the time; there are always jobs to be done, but working too hard can rob your sense of unbridled fun, something that should never be allowed to happen. Denying yourself of activities that give you a childlike sense of wonder, exuberance and joie de vivre is detrimental to your overall mental health and well-being. Everyone needs downtime.

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So go and enjoy whatever it makes you happy: fantasy football, hiking, reading comics, spending time with your friends, family or pets. Make yourself set clear boundaries between your work life and your home life. This helps to establish that your work is not the central focus of your entire life, and that it does not infringe on your leisure time. After all, we’re only here for a little while on this planet – what are the chances that not having enough fun might be on your list of regrets?

6. Your work-life balance is suffering.

The work-life balance is something that people have struggled with for years, and it is hard as heck to juggle everything that life seems to want to throw at us. Work commitments, family commitments, friend commitments, the list goes on. Working too hard means that whatever kind of balance you’ve established for yourself can become unraveled, negatively impacting your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The key to this? Focus on your schedule and try and make sure that your boundaries are maintained. Don’t answer non-vital emails when you’ve gone home for the day, or work when you’re not in the office or on their time. Your life is your own for a reason, and giving it up for a company is a big waste.

7. You’re living to work… rather than working to live.

The final reason you should give up working too hard at the expense of everything else in life is simply that when it boils down to it, you are living to work, rather than working to live. Even if you love your job – which we ideally all should – there needs to be a point where the money helps us fulfill other meaningful aspects of our lives.

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Life is not about the hours you put in at the office or promotions. Earning money helps us provide our lives with the means of doing what we want to do, but if we’re spending all of our time working on getting the money and the means, we won’t have time to actually do what is important. Imagine missing your child’s college graduation because you were too focused on a project to take the time off, or ducking out of a wedding in order to answer emails. It doesn’t sound good, does it?

You only get one shot at life. What will you regret more – not working hard enough to get more money, or not realising that what makes a person truly rich are your family, friends and loved ones, and how you choose to spend your precious time with them?

Featured photo credit: camknows via flickr.com

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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