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The Daily Tar Heel

Simply based on my easy demeanor and overall likable personality, you might not be aware of the fact that I’m a workaholic. I like working. Correction: I like getting home at the end of the day knowing I have worked.  Contributing to my overall development and learning new things makes me feel good about myself. Just head over to my LinkedIn to see all the corporate jargon I abuse to pass myself off as an employable person.

I'm kind of like Thanos, collecting the infinity stones of employment. I just bounce around working random jobs. I’ve worked as a website designer, in a city Mayor’s office and even for a neurosurgery practice. I had no clue in the world what was going on, and the biggest secret of all is I’ve hated some of them.

It’s not that I’m completely uninterested in anything. It’s just that I fried my brain watching iCarly and eating Red Dye 40 as a kid, so I’m pretty much a lost cause in terms of applicable workplace skills. What I’ve gotten good at, however, is enjoying my life even when work sucks. 

One summer, I was living alone across the country, away from everyone I knew. And my job sucked. My usual tricks weren’t working. I tried going to the bathroom and watching Instagram Reels, but someone’s desk was on the other side of the paper-thin wall, so that got shut down fast. My media hyperfixation at the time was Sex and The City, so I tried to roughen up my hair and purse my lips, but that didn’t really work when asking customers to verify their payment. 

I had to do what I feared the most: put in effort. Not just into the job, but my well-being too. 

When I got home from work after my first day, the book I pretended to read at cafes and I were having a great time commiserating when I realized: Yes, I hated my job. But I didn’t need to hate my life. 

My day was roughly scheduled as follows: work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I realized that if I simply went home after work every day, that would be the only thing I did and I would be sad. I refused to let that be the end of the story.

I should mention, the following steps I took are what personally work for me. While I wish I could tell every single reader a universal work-life balance panacea, it’s obviously not that simple. 

Therapists everywhere would be put out of work, and BetterHelp is already doing that.

When life is getting me down, I usually ask myself three questions. 

1.How do I feel?

2.What is actually happening?

3.What can I do to help the situation?

How I felt about work: I decided that I had hated my job and everything was miserable. 

What was actually happening with work: I took a step back and thought, “Okay, maybe not everything sucks, just this one thing I do until mid-afternoon five times a week kind of sucks.” I didn’t like something I had to do every day, and I was letting it usurp joy from everywhere else in my life.

What I did to help the situation: I still had the entire afternoon and weekend to do anything I wanted. I decided to split my days into two days. The first day was when I worked, and the second day was when I did things I enjoyed. If I decided to have fun 5-to-9’s after my 9-to-5’s I would have something to look forward to. 

Once I realized I should just try to have fun outside of work, I took action steps. I made dinner plans, went on long walks, and explored new areas of the town. And I found that the days started to pass by much quicker when I had other things to look forward to rather than just going home at the end of the day. 

Finding a job you absolutely love can be pretty hard, and putting time and effort into yourself can be even harder. If you spend as much time doing things you love as you do building your resume, you too can achieve the elusive work-life balance. 

It doesn’t seem like much, but it works for me. And That’s Just My Two Spence. 

@dthopinion

@opinion@dailytarheel.com

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