Musings of a former workaholic

2009 – Easter Break. We went to Athens. I had just gotten a new job – actually a promotion and as soon as we got back from holiday, the day after, there was a product launch. Guess what I did that entire Easter Break while the husband and kids explored the gorgeous seawater swimming pool every afternoon? Yep. You guessed right.

2010 – Summer holiday. We went to Lake Garda, Verona and Venice. I don’t remember what it was but I was worried about something and instead of checking-out of work, I spent my entire time putting the WiFi to terrible use online, working.

This went on for a while until I couldn’t keep much of anything straight. I worked evenings. I worked weekends. And in all honesty I felt it was what I had to do to have a career. If I wanted to “make” it – I just had to put in the hours. All those people who don’t “make” it get there because they’re slackers and don’t know how to work. I knew how to work. And be a mom. And have a social life. And write through writer’s block. I was super woman on speed.

2011 – I finally realize that all the hard work and “great job” pats on the backs didn’t mean I was going to make it. Fuck, I didn’t even know what “making” it meant.

2012 – Summer. I quit my job in early July and wasn’t going to start my new job until September. I had seven weeks of holiday. For the first time since I left university I had these many weeks off. I couldn’t stress about my previous job because who gave a shit. I couldn’t worry about my new job because I hadn’t started yet.

My husband was convinced that I’d start to go out of my mind but you know what, you get used to not doing anything but chilling really, really fast. School started, kids went to school, husband went to work – I spent my day writing, reading, searching for recipes on Epicurious, grocery shopping, cooking, working out, picking kids and dropping kids off…it was fabulous.

And I learnt something really important. For some odd reason, even though I had left my job that I worked so hard at the company didn’t fall apart. Somehow the company managed to do just fine without me. It was an important lesson.

Smelling the roses (or eating lobster)
Smelling the roses (or eating lobster) – Summer Vacation 2013

Now when I go on holiday – and even if it’s for a short few days or three weeks, I turn my work email on my phone and iPad off. If it’s urgent and the skies fall, someone will call me. But in reality I don’t have that kind of a job. I ain’t important enough. It’s all going to be just okay.

I have gotten so much into it that today morning when I woke up and saw a work-related SMS I was more than a little annoyed that it was nothing serious and someone had taken my out of office message about sending me a text message for urgent stuff only not seriously enough. It has to be urgent, people because otherwise I need to work on my holiday and I don’t do that anymore.

In my previous life as a workaholic I would’ve logged on immediately – checked email – called people and solved whatever problem there was and felt good about being needed even while I was on holiday. Now, I’m just fine not to be needed all that intensely. A job at the end of the day and no matter how much you “make it” is still just a job and only a part of the whole enchilada.

I love my job. I have fun doing it. It’s challenging work. It’s good work. But just like when I work I don’t check out in the middle of the day to go on holiday – I don’t want to check out of my holiday either. I need to recharge my batteries so I can continue to love my job and enjoy doing it because the last time I didn’t recharge I was starting to climb walls and no one was having fun, not me and definitely not the people around crazy energizer bunny person.

Workaholism is a vicious circle. You keep working all the time until you can’t stop working. It’s all that keeps you going. You don’t know how to relax. You don’t know how to rest. You’re running all the time. When they say you have to stop and smell the roses – this is what they mean. Stop working. Take a break. Tune it all out and smell the fucking roses – or lavender as the case maybe if you’re on holiday in Provence.

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One Comment

  1. Farah says:

    If I ever grow up, Amulya, I want to be just like you 🙂

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