I recently left my position at a local start-up here in Cincinnati had a variety of experiences while working there, some bad and some good. For the most part I consider myself a dedicated and hard worker focused on the success of the client over my interests. I write this as an open letter to others in a similar position and as a warning to others to help identify the signs of trouble ahead.
I have always been told money can never buy happiness, but it sure can make life more bearable. This, in general, is a very true statement. However, for most people there are limitations on how far money can go to keep one happy. A majority of people will know what or where their limit is, but for a few, including myself, this can be obscured because he/she may get caught up in the routine.
In my case, I didn’t realize how far it had gotten until I tried to pick up my guitar one day and had no inspiration then sat it back down. For me making music is my outlet for everything and my personal time away from the world where I can truly be creative. I then started to reflect on other aspects of my life. My life as it was seemed to be revolving around work. Thoughts and ideas I had after work were all related to work. I was spending more time trying to resolve or plan for things at work than I was at work. Consequently, my health although not in horrible condition was noticeably different; I was tired and depressed as I think about it now. Clearly, I was not in the right mindset to keep things in order at home so how was I to do so at work?
The answer is that you don’t. When you can’t focus outside of work it is likely you won’t be able to focus at work. People generally refer to this as burnout and it is toxic. If not addressed it can snowball out of control quite quickly and one will no longer have the drive to anything whether at work or at home. When you have reached this point it might be just a little too late. One might ask well why didn’t you take a vacation? There are ways out right? The short answer is yes, but many times it is much more complex than this. In my case, I had several projects and deadlines stacked up back to back without a break. This is something you have to take up with your adviser and I was caught up with trying to keep things moving, my dedication had come back to bite me.
There should be fail safes here where your superior should be able to spot these incidents when they come up. Unfortunately, in the name of making an impression and gaining clients’ trust my time and energy was abused. If this happens then the company is not working in your best interests. If they try to compensate by throwing more money at you it is up to your discretion what to do, but I can tell you the money will only go so far. Additionally, it will feel as if you can be bought off and that your basically a commodity that can be used at will. If you make it this far then my suggestion is to just walk away. The likelihood of the situation presenting itself again future is very high and it will not be worth your trouble, time, depression, or family life to deal with it. Find a place where your time both at work and at home are well respected.