Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Ever Work Till Midnight But Feel Guilty About Leaving the Office At 5?

Chapter 5: The Roll Of Circumstance Part 14

In that last post, Mary came back from maternity leave to find herself at a disadvantage because many of the key decisions were made after hours.  And moreover, her subordinates kept going directly to her boss, as they had done when she was out.

What was worse, Mary had to defend those decisions to the rest of the department.  “To sit in all hands meetings where senior managers were pointing fingers, and then I am the one who has to stand up and defend decisions I wasn’t making.  That got really old.  That and the hours.   The sheer amount of work.  I was putting the kids to bed, and [working] up to midnight every night.”

One of Mary’s team left for another role in the company, and she was quickly overwhelmed.  “I couldn’t hire quickly enough.  There were a couple of months where I was working 80+ hour weeks.  I would ask my husband to take the kids to the zoo on Saturday so I could have the whole day to catch up.”

Nowhere in this part of the conversation did Mary mention love or devotion to the company.  It was no longer about a family atmosphere, or changing the world and in fact, I don’t think she even liked the company. Mary was driven by other factors.  She worked each night until midnight, often worked a full day on Saturday, yet felt guilty about leaving work at 5.  “I think I thought I was going to get fired.  It was right after the merger, and there was all this pressure.  All these managers from Boston who wanted to know what was going on.  The pressure was crazy.”  To further compound the stress, Mary was the sole breadwinner.  “If I got fired from my job, I didn’t see the monthly bills [getting paid]; everyone was on my  [health] insurance.”

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