My father raised me with certain ideas and principles about what it means to be a good employee.
It’s probably why I started my first job when I was 15 years old, working in the ice cream parlor my grandparents owned. Dad thought it was a good idea for me to start making my own money. Working would teach me responsibility and give me some character. It would make me appreciate my life and my belongings more, you know, to see how hard I’d have to work to pay for all those nice things I had. Plus, working is a major part of life, so why not get startd sooner rather than later? Right?
Dad logic can be legit, but it can also be kind of intense.
Just because my grandma was my boss doesn’t mean I got any special treatment. In fact, I made sure I didn’t. I wanted to be treated like any other employee, which meant that I had to act like I was one. And that meant working my ass off to prove that I deserved to be there.
When my grandparents sold the business, I stuck around with the new owner for about six months before some scheduling problems no longer made it a good fit. Rather than just quit and enjoy my free time, I went straight into my next job as a hostess at a local restaurant. Four months later, I fulfilled my dream to to become a camp counselor at the local YMCA Day Camp I had been attending since I was 10.
And no, I didn’t quit the hostessing job. I did both.
I should have known then that I was a workaholic. I worked 40 hours per week at camp from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., then had just enough time to go home, clean up and be at the restaurant a few nights of week for an additional 20-25 hours.
I did that for three years during the summer. I was exhausted, but I liked it. There’s something about working that makes me feel, I don’t know, good.
I’ve always prided myself on being a good employee. I show up on time, I don’t make excuses, I get my work done and I do it with a smile. I also hardly ever call off sick, even when I probably should. If I’m not dying, I should be at work. That would be some more of dad’s logic kicking in.
The unfortunate consequence of all this non-stop working and borderline psycho mentality about never having a day off has been that I also rarely put in for vacation time. And that’s probably not good.
Last year, I didn’t take a single day off work until the end of August. And even then I only did it because it was a use it or lose it scenario and I figured I why not just give myself a mini birthday vacation?
During that week off, I realized how much I needed to get some separation from work to just… relax. I’m already a high stress/anxiety prone kind of girl, I’ve known it for years. Being a workaholic AND a high stresser pretty much means I am never relaxed. It’s sad really.
So this year, I put in some time off a little early and started a five-day weekend today. I slept in, enjoyed my breakfast while reading the news, took my time getting ready and spent some quality time with Jordy. Now I’m about to clean up the apartment and plan out some crafts/blog posts I want to write in the upcoming weeks.
And to think that last Friday I nearly reached across my editor’s desk to tear my vacation request slip up. Seriously, the psycho stressed workaholic in me nearly did it. I was panicking over how I was going to get all my work done in just three days when one of those days I don’t even get to play reporter. I didn’t think I could do it, and I was willing to sacrifice my vacation (i.e. my mental health rehabilitation period) so that I could work more.
Man, I am a piece of work sometimes.
But I didn’t do it. Because wanting to tear up that paper seemed like the very confirmation of the fact that I needed the time off.
So far my mini vacation is off to a good start! I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the rest of these five days plays out.
Mostly this post has been a way for me to get all of this off my chest, and face the fact that I can be a little crazy when it comes to work and that it has to stop.
But I hope it’s also a reminder to you that we all need to recharge our batteries every once and awhile. Don’t put it off and make yourself crazy. Take a few days to soak up some sun, smell the flowers, sleep, play with your dog, smile, laugh, and just be you. Who knows, it could be just what you need.
Photo credit: Colour Moon