run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Work and Life

I'm about to get all philosophical on your asses... so, get ready (or not).

In the life of an accountant... January SUCKS MAJOR ASS. Especially when you work for a small accounting firm with your family's name on it, where you USED to take on more than you could chew, but after 7 years have finally gotten to the point where you don't eagerly volunteer for new projects and unfortunately, you have a hard time finding a way to shove off some of your piddly/administrative/whythefuckamIdoingthis work to other employees (mainly because you are either too busy or too frustrated to teach someone else).

So, yeah... January is a busy time for me. There are a few times like this during the year... March, April, September, October and January. Times where I have to work late, work weekends, and stumble around the rest of the time feeling guilty that I'm not at work, because there's so much to be done! But to be honest... I don't mind it. I have a great job, with great people (errr.. mostly), and when you work in the family business, being insanely busy is a GOOD THING.

But, over the course of the years, I've learned some things about myself... some things that I used to kinda feel guilty about, but as I get older, I am proud that I've turned out this way.

For one... when people ask me what I do...I know they're looking to small talk me and asking me about my job is one of the easiest things to do. They don't technically mean.. "what do you DO?" they mean... "how do you pay your bills?" And I always happily tell them. But, I'm always tempted to answer them truthfully.... because my job isn't what I do. It will never be what I do. It will never be the definition of my life. But, I'm afraid of the conversation turning into this:

New person: "So... what do you do?"
Me (enthusiastically): "Well, I travel as much as much as I can, I run, I practice yoga and meditation, I read and watch terrible non-cable television more than I should, and I try to spend as much time in nature as possible... ya know... typical WASPy/hippie bullshit. What about you?"
New person: ..... slowly backs away

Also, I am not a workaholic and never will be. I have friends who constantly work 60 hour weeks and I'm always in awe of them. How do they actually do that? After about 11 hours of work in one day I become a nervous WRECK. Tell me that the copier is jammed at 9pm and one of two things is liable to happen #1 to burst into tears and run flailing out the back door or #2  rip your head off with foul language and kick the shit out of the copier (or both). It used to make me feel like I loved my job less than them, or that I was less successful than I could be. But, as lazy and/or unAmerican as this sounds... I don't care. I work late when I need to, I pull 60 hour weeks when I need to (uhhhh RARELY ever more than that), but I don't and won't do that on a consistent basis. I am too interested in the rest of my life.

All this to say... January Sucks! And I'm thankful to have this Half Marathon Training Plan going on that I'm obsessed with to get me up and out the door at 5am. In the past, it was too easy to hit the snooze some mornings, because I wasn't technically training for anything. And in the evenings, I'm working later so I've had to cut back on my yoga classes this month, but, I know that this is just a phase of a few weeks and soon enough I'll be back to my regular 40 hour work weeks and the rest of my life will catch up.

I will not feel guilty about not being a workaholic and I will not feel guilty about my life taking a back seat occasionally to my work. It's a fine balance that we're all just trying to meet.

(Thanks. I needed that).


Carina said...

I've always taken the "what do you do?" to mean how do I fill my time. And while I probably spend roughly equal numbers of hours each week sleeping and working (esp since I usually only work 5 days per week, but I sleep all 7 nights!), working is my number one waking activity.

I went through a workaholic decade (that was when I found your blog I think), but now I like the balanced approach. But my job still defines me and my time probably more than anything else. Even now when I'm spending about 3 hours every day working out, running and/or doing yoga, it's still not as much time in a week as I spend at work.

Maybe how closely you identify with your job is warped for attorneys. I feel like law school changed how I look at and think about everything. I wish I was more defined by the better and more fun stuff in my life, but I think my very core is my job. Yikes! Need more yoga I guess! Haha.

Katie said...

I used to be a completely insane workaholic and I just...won't anymore. I just won't. For all the reasons you list. Don't be apologetic about not wanting your life to suck, and by not defining yourself by your job. I give this post a big AHHHMEN.

Keri said...

I love that you are not what I consider a typical accountant. I used to work in an accounting department and there were very few folks in there that could crack a joke or take a joke. I love that you are sarcastic as they come!