I've been rather frustrated with work lately. Though I make a comfortable enough living, the hours are long, and I'm tired of office politics. Though I try my best to keep my own team and everyone I interact with in high spirits, morale is low due to the long hours, short weekends, strenuous work, low pay, and the aloof or shitty attitudes of other supervisors and managers. I have my own designs on how to improve our situation, but it involves going against certain concepts and procedures which have been hammered into the minds of the old guard and the higher-ups.
I often find myself daydreaming of what I'd do if I'd won the lottery, or if I sold my house, quit my my job, and retired to somewhere much more affordable and desirable. Life is much too ****ing short to work one's life away, I feel.
How often do you think about this? Specifically, what would you do, and where would you go? How many of you have acted on such a desire, and left something behind to take a chance somewhere else? Did it work out?
I've seen you mention some of your travels, Whirly. It sounds like you're much happier now. What was the biggest relief which came from the move? Is there anything you miss about your old life in the West?
I was married for just shy of five years to an old friend I'd dated for two years. We didn't have any children, nor did I want them. I was the sole provider due to her immigration status. I grew frustrated with the marriage because of this, feeling as though I bore the yoke of responsibility on my own. Before we were married and moved in together, I was working over 100 hours a week between my current job and another to save up to buy a home. After we married, I cut it down to about 80, then dropped the second job altogether once we had paid off some debt from home repairs and furnishings. We divorced, but remain good friends.
I've realized that a major factor in my unhappiness was due to the amount of time I spent working. I've worked 18 hour shifts before to get caught up or stay ahead, and I've made several changes to the way we do things to improve our speed and efficiency. I had no problem doing so when it felt like it was there was purpose behind it, but I've come to realize that it means **** all to the managers a tier above me, and several of my peers would rather pass the buck instead of getting more involved, with the big picture in mind. I still work an average of about 60-70 hours a week, and I've grown tired of it.
I'm in my mid-30s, feeling like I've wasted my youth on mindless responsibility...just another cog in the machine expected to turn, nothing more, nothing less. So, I've been playing with the idea of selling my house now that it has quite a bit of equity, moving somewhere I can buy a new place in full and the cost of living is cheap, keep a few thousand dollars in the bank, and work part-time to pay for a few basic necessities and amenities.
So far, I've looked at a places in Europe, but I've taken more interest in a few towns near Cancun, Mexico that are apparently popular with expatriates. Though my own Spanish is a little rusty, I understand it just fine. Increased violent crime related to the drug-trade is a concern, but it doesn't seem much more dangerous than living in Los Angeles or even the largest cities here in Colorado.
I was working over 100 hours in the Spring and Summer of 2011 and 2012, and over 80 hours in Autumn and Winter. I quit the second job by Summer of 2013, and maintained 50-66 hour work weeks until I got promoted in 2015, and it jumped up to 60-70 hour work weeks.
I'd never heard of karoshi before, but I have heard of people literally working themselves to death. I'm perpetually sleep-deprived, and my diet wasn't great while I was working both jobs. I didn't have much time to eat after my lunch at my first job, and if I did manage to eat something at my second job, it was usually sugary/salty snacks or fast food.
My best friend attributes my survival and ability to function under such circumstances to my Mexican blood.
I've done 100 hour weeks before myself having been a chef for 12 years, you don't get time to do anything, coming back to a filthy home with pizza boxes and takeaway cartons everywhere is not good at all. It's kind of a double edged sword I think, with a wife and kids you would likely come home to a clean house with a decent meal on the table/in the oven but when you're putting in those kind of hours all you want to do is come home, defecate, eat, smoke and then sleep (maybe rub one out before sleep if you've got time).
__________________ Then lets head down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch
What did you move on to after that? Was it a new career choice, or a different employer?
Working that much is no way to live life. It took a toll on my marriage and well-being. I was exhausted and depressed all the time. I wanted to go out and have fun, but at the same time, all I wanted to do was lay around at home and sleep.
I think that if you have ideas on how to improve things at work, do it.
Here is a list of things to get your idea or ideas greenlit:
1. First, schedule a meeting with your higher ups that can approve your ideas. Don't go into details too much in the meeting invite but definitely schedule it and set an explicit agenda no larger than 5 items.
2. Prepare a business case. Justify it with numbers that follow the SMART model. Answer a few question in the business case:
Does this new process save money?
Does it increase revenue?
What is the ROI (aim for less than 6 months on small initiatives or less than 2 years on large ones).
Do you have team support for this (have you evangelized the idea to your peers)?
Is there a steep learning curve to get this idea/project off the ground and start seeing efficiencies from it?
What is the organizational impact?
Are there legal considerations?
Are there regulatory considerations?
Can this effort be capitalized (and/or will we have to acquire new assets, implement a cloud solution, acquire licensing, hire professional services, etc.)?
What is the full timeline with details in the timeline?
3. Practice your presentation with peers and family members. Find an a-hole friend who will ask you very hard hitting questions that poke holes in your idea.
4. Hold the meeting.
5. Deliver the utter living shit out of your idea and be a try charismatic leader to make this idea work.
6. Improve morale, working hours, etc. for everyone and make yourself happier.
7. Now that you've succeed with your idea in your company, they are far far far far more likely to approve another idea as long as you've done legit legwork like before. Now you have more opportunities to improve work. Go back to step 1.
Often, what the reality is, you don't understand everything at play and your idea is stupid as hell. You are just too ignorant to realize this. The new idea you have will be shit and change nothing. Worse, it will waste money, time, and harm the business. HOWEVER!!!!!! Sometimes, a person comes up with a great idea, saves money, or makes a crapload of money. Put some time into your idea. Really do the legwork. See if your idea is legit or if you're in the former camp of crappy ideas. Make it happen.
Take control of your future, don't wallow in mediocrity and depression. Make a difference. Be bold. Make change happen.