It’s been exactly a year since I’ve been thrust into a 10 hours shift shift. One year of sitting in desk, answering emails, solving incidents and documenting everything in between. It’s my first job so I’m trying to put my best foot forward. Getting to the office at least fifteen minutes earlier and staying until needed. Trying to handle all the new roles and responsibilities that are handed to you, and being “Yes, sir/ma’am, I can do it” all the time to show you can handle the job – and handle it good.
It’s been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, and trying to sneak in a hint of social life at every chance I can. It’s been rough. I said goodbye to long weekends – or just weekends, in general – for a while. There are days I just want to stay in bed and rest, but I can’t since I have work to do. There are days when all I wanted to do was hang out with my family on a holiday because, duh, it’s a holiday, but I can’t.
So many missed events, but, hey, that’s being a responsible worker. Or so I thought. It took me a while to at least have a decent work-life balance. I think it took me three straight weeks of being (very) busy at work to think, “Hey, this is not cool. I am not handling this properly.” A few failed attempts before I started to have some sense of work-life balance. I am still working as needed but I am not so burnt out come weekends that I was able to start having out of town trips in between. Thus, I was only really able to travel on the last few months of 2015.
Like I said, it’s been a lot better now. I know my schedule and I can plan around it. Here are the top 3 things I do to have a better work-life balance.
1. Learnt how to say “no” and to stop being a martyr.
There was a point in time that I was the “I can do that” person. You know, I was starting out, and I wanted to impress so I was always yes, yes, yes to tasks even if it’s only five minutes before my shift ends and I end up staying an hour or two later than was expected of me. Or even attending a meeting than happens an hour after my shift ends because, “What if I miss something?” Over time, I learned to change my “yes” to “I can do that first thing tomorrow” or “I’ll get back to that.” Of course, I don’t mind staying a few hours over my shift or do overtime if it’s urgent, but if it’s not, I’ve learned to let go and do it on my next working shift.
2. Drew a line between personal and professional time.
This isn’t easy, especially when you work in an industry that expects 24/7 support. I remember one time when it was already a middle of the night on a Saturday when I received a call and was asked to work (from home) because my teammate can’t access the system or something like that. Now, I didn’t really mind at all since it’s a rare event. However, what if it happened when I was out and I was the only one expected to do it? I make it a point to tell my team when I am not available on specific dates and in turn, I take note of the dates where they are not able to answer calls. This also applies on weekdays, especially when I have things planned after work.
3. Took holidays and long weekends.
I know of people who doesn’t use their vacation leaves and I’m stumped on how they can work day after day after day without breaks. I take full advantage of my holidays and long weekends. I also make it a point to not check my emails during this time and not answer anything work-related – unless I’m on support that day, which is a different story altogether. This is “me” time – time to distance myself from work and to just unwind.
Aside from learning to balance my personal and professional life out, I’ve also had a lot of whiny thoughts from the past year. Let me list them down in bullets because, gosh, this blog post is getting long. And even though the list below doesn’t exactly fit in the theme of my blog post, I want to look back at these thoughts and laugh at myself.
- Wait, how do taxes work? Even bonuses are taxable? What? Wait. This tax is like a third of my salary! …that’s taxable, too?!
- So… I have to pay for SSS, Pag-ibig, etc… What exactly are these for?
- *on paying everything else* Is everything really that expensive? Are you sure? I’ll just eat cup noodles for the rest of the month, thanks.
- I’m getting tired of this black-brown-white color theme we have going on with our corporate attires.
- I can’t handle this. I’m quitting… I’m kidding, I need the salary.
- I want to go back to school.
- Growing up sucks. Where’s the money and car all those movies told us we’ll get if we do really well at school? Where?
- Finally! Pay day! Hallelujah!
I know it’s been only a year since I started to work but I’m sure I don’t want to have a desk work for the rest of my life. I want to go back to school and maybe take a Masteral degree. Or maybe start my own business. Or be a full-time freelancer. There’s so many options, but I’m still young so I’ll hustle on my desk job for now. Besides, my company’s awesome and I don’t mind much that I’ll be spending a few more years in it.
How was your first job?