Friday, October 10, 2003

battered young professionals

Laura Vanderkam wrote about how White-collar sweatshops batter young workers, how last generation's yuppies are now overworked $12-an-hour white-collar workers, brilliant but overworked with 80- to 90-hour workweeks. She also goes on to mention that after all the overwork, some people just go on to get laid off. But the lay-offs and some human nature work together so that the brilliant young people actually think about how they could be better off in life in terms of fulfillment, time and happiness in general.

Struck a raw nerve somewhere because a few months ago I was logging around 75-80 hours of work a week, sometimes spending the night in the office, generally not having much of a life. It led to a rethinking of a relationship, rethinking of the quality of my leisure and home life, rethinking of life and purpose in general.

Right now I'm still averaging around 60 hours a week at work. More often than not I still like what I'm doing although it gets monotonous at times. It's not that bad considering breaks and free internet though. I rather like the people that I work with, too. They're a good and dependable (albeit underpaid--escept for Actuarial) bunch. New office rather sucks, but it's funny that so far I've been spending more time here than I used to at the old one. Food Odyssey at the 11th floor helps. Hehe.

The thing is, when I was working all those hours, I felt needed. I felt I was a vital cog in that whopper of a project for our agents' compensation.

Would I do it over? Yes, definitely. Was it worth it? Now that I can't answer off the top of my head. There are, of course, pros and cons. The realization that my relationship was not "the one" was a noteworthy effect. The disruption of my body clock was not. There was bonding with my officemates, but there was also some tension on the home front because I was rarely there. But I did it, I got Employee of the Quarter props while at it, and was able to pay off most of my debts because of all the overtime pay. So yes, I believe it was worth it.

But only for the same two months that I had the office as my home. More than that and I would have to put my foot down.

I think it should only get you down if you allow it to get you down; after all, you should have it in you to realize when you're going too far. But if I were to do that for more than two months on end, I don't think I could take it. So after those two months I made it a point not to work overtime for a while; and I up and signed on for a few visits to a spa.

I can't deny that I still wish I could have a job at which it seems like I'm at play; but this comes quite close because I've found that I'm having quite a bit of fun anyway. You know, if I do realize that this really isn't worth it, I'm definitely out of here. But so far, when I ask myself is there something else I would be doing rather than I.T.-related work with some freelance writing, nice people to work with, and ample time to spend with my family and friends (not to mention Buffy and CSI), the answer still comes out no.

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