Saturday, May 19, 2018
Killing Yourself For Your Job
I saw a quote on twitter the other day:
"You're killing yourself for a job that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead. Take care of yourself."
Wow, did that quote strike a note with me! It's ingrained in me to work hard. My mother is a hard worker, always has been and always will be. Her biggest struggle with aging is having to slow down. My Dad was a hard worker, but he knew how to relax and was not afraid to speak up when he needed a break. My mom would just go and go and get upset and angry when she was worn out.
As an insurance defense lawyer, my job is based on billable hours. The more hours I bill the more successful I am in my position. Working and billing clients makes money for the firm and is the main evaluation tool used by the firm. (but not really because the firm doesn't do performance evaluations. Generally, the partners will look at the billable hours spreadsheet at the end of the year and complain about the lack of hours- mostly from the partners themselves. Anyways.) Most insurance defense firms encourage long hours and weekend work.
Over the last few years I have been trying to back off at work and do less. I've been so busy this year that backing off hasn't gone well. Nevertheless, I've still found a few ways to stop taking on so much at work:
1. I told my boss I'm busy and I can't take on any new projects. That worked for a limited time, until he decided to drop some work on me that he didn't want to do!
2. I refuse to answer phones and greet guests at the front door when all of the support staff leaves early, calls in sick or is working from home.
3. I'm trying to not come in as early.
4. I've stopped putting the burden on myself to save the firm money. If it's better for my health to stay overnight at a hotel, then I do that. Even if the hotel charges will not be reimbursed by the client. No more 18/19 hour days for me.
It's taken a long time, but I've recognized that my job is simply a job. I replaced someone else who worked there and, at some point, someone else will replace me. I've worked at other places, in other jobs and when I quit I was replaced. I'm not so invaluable that I cannot be replaced by another lawyer. Balance is a must in the workforce.