Work Life vs. Home Life

My Desk - If You Can Find It!

Just FYI, this is what my office looks like as I write this post. There is so much going on right now that things are getting a little overwhelming. Next year won’t be any better, either. Probably much, much worse.

I was talking to some of my co-workers at lunch yesterday and the topic of work life vs. home life came up.

See, one of the older professors he has set up an office for himself at home with all of his teaching stuff so that when he goes home at the end of the day (usually around 5pm, he gets in at 7am) then he can work on the lectures for the next day. I imagine that it takes him around 1-2 hours to prepare for lectures for the following day, but that is just my assumption. I really don’t know after 25 years how long it takes to prepare a lecture.

Another professor refuses to let his work bleed into home life. He wants to leave work at home. Thus, in order to stay on top of things he works every night until 6pm (students don’t rarely come around after 4-5pm) and he works every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday). I can see why he works late and comes in on the weekend, but your work life is still interfering with your home life even if you’re NOT at home.

One of the other new professors and I had been talking about this earlier. And we had been thinking that it will be nice when we reach the point that we can go home and leave work at home. I typically spend at least 1-2 hours a week night and 3-4 hours on the weekend preparing for class during the week – all of this on TOP of being in the office from 7:30am to 5pm.

The conclusion that I came to is that graduate school prepared me for my job and my personal life to always be intertwined. In graduate school I worked A LOT more than I do now. Every day was a 10 hour day if I was slacking. Saturday work wasn’t an option, it was an expectation. I went home and still was thinking about my work. I had 5 years of training to show me that my work and my home life were one and the same. I can leave the office or the lab, but I can’t leave the work.

I knew from stories and watching other faculty members first hand that the first few years of being a professor were tough. It takes a lot longer to prepare a class from scratch than it does to revamp one that is already made.

In some ways I’m very envious of Mr. Hive. His job he leaves when he steps out the door at 5pm. He goes in, does his job, and leaves. He gets done what he gets done and he’s good at it. His job doesn’t affect his life when he’s not there. I suppose though the consequence of having a job that doesn’t affect you is that it also can’t bring you joy.

I guess I trade hours in the evening and hours on the weekend for a career that I’m passionate about. It brings me a lot of joy and every day there are new challenges. Every day I come in there is something new for me to tackle and understand and do. And I love that.

Sometimes though it would be really nice if I could go home and NOT think about work. But then, the nights where this happens I generally don’t even know what to do with myself. I just go to the gym, make dinner and then sit on the couch and watch Netflix. At least if I’m preparing lectures or grading papers I have SOMETHING to do.

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6 Responses to Work Life vs. Home Life

  1. Jess Hall says:

    Interesting post, because I can totally relate to it! I wish I could leave work and work, and just be able to go home and not think about my clients. But I think it’s all about passion and really loving your career and where you work. I actually enjoy my work, enjoy helping others and my co-workers are amazing too! I also got a good compensation that has allowed me to open a savings account with Aurora Bank, where I am hoping to reach my goal of saving for my first place. Hope that with time you learn to balance work and life, most importantly in the most stressful times!

  2. eemusings says:

    Hmm. T’s job is definitely like that. Less so for me. I wouldn’t say it brings me joy, but I certainly get more satisfaction than he does.

    I think for me, I have a range of outside interests so I definitely resent work eating into my personal time. I want those hours to myself! I basically never feel like you say “I don’t even know what to do with myself.” T does, though – and yeah, he watches a lot of TV. Or now, goes out on his motorbike..

  3. daisy says:

    I have been out of the house for 17 hours a day three times this week. It’s not uncommon for me.
    I think I’ll be able to do less when I’m more established, but when your young & just starting out like me, it’s super important to constantly be on the go. Or, so I see it.
    My boyfriend works 8 hour days, comes home, and does nothing all evening and all weekend. When he complains that he’s busy, I want to strangle him. I work 8 hours a day, go to class for anywhere from 3-6 hours per day (evening), then go do homework and group projects. I am driving for about 21/2 hours a day. I leave my house at 6 am and get home at 10 pm sometimes. It’s intense.
    All in the name of success, haha!
    How I would love some work home balance.

  4. psychsarah says:

    It’s a tough one…really, what you describe is why I chose to opt out of academic work. The years of grad school just did me in with the schedule you described. Though my work is intense, I don’t work nearly as many hours as I used to then (and the pay is much better now!) I have no trouble filling my time-volunteering, exercise, hobbies that I gave up for many years while I was studying, time with family and friends… I am just as busy, but doing more of what I want. There are definitely days when work bleeds into home, but not like it used to. I don’t mind once in a while, since I find my work rewarding, but I believe I’d get burned out quickly without the other aspects of my life to balance out the intense work. There is something appealing about not feeling guilty when you do something fun (in grad school I always felt like there was something else I should be doing whenever I took any kind of break-not healthy in the long run for me.)

    • SS4BC says:

      You really hit the nail on the head with graduate school. I constantly felt guilty about whenever I would spend my time doing anything else other than graduate work. I don’t feel as guilty now, unless I know I still have exams or quizzes to grade.But there is definitely a bleed over that occurs, and I guess I just need to find ways to minimize it as much as I can. Or to just a few days a week.

  5. o_O

    O_o

    There’s a desk under there. Are you sure?

    j/k! j/k! hehehe. 🙂

    See, this is why I don’t think I could be a teacher or professor or whatnot. I like my work life & personal life separate. When I’m home, I like to relax. For me working isn’t a passion. It just gets me to what I am passionate about… If that makes sense.

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