Balance in Life, Staying Focused On Life Goals Other Than $

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by LooksGood, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    I'm 29 and soon I won't be able to say I'm in a quarter life crisis because of my age. I've recently started a new job that is a huge step up in my career and will lead to even bigger opportunities if I do well for a year.

    It is also a large pay bump, from ~95k/yr to 130k/yr. But I was working 30-35 hrs a week at my old job; this new role will probably require me to work at least 50 hours a week. That probably doesn't sound like a lot but I'm in the car commuting 2.5-3 hours a day(traffic from San Francisco to South Bay is a bitch). As a result I leave for work at 7am and arrive home a little before 7pm.

    I'm exhausted and pass out between 10-11pm, wake up in the middle of the night when it's hard to go back to sleep for another hour, fall back asleep, wake up for work. I go to the gym only 2/3 days a week now instead of 5/6 and have been eating poorly(gorging on unhealthy snacks and ordering delivery instead of cooking). If I keep this up my healthy body will go to shit.

    Last year I set some things I wanted to achieve before I reached 30, one of them was career advancement(albeit not as much as this) but most of the goals were social. I know these goals are ultimately more important than my current job, but I have a habit of being addicted to money, power, etc. How do I find the solidarity to stay true to these goals?

    While writing this post I realized one thing I could do is take the company shuttle, if I'm working after hours and spending so much time in the car I can combine the 2 this way by working in the shuttle since it has WiFi.

    btw inb4 first world problems, call the waahmbulance, etc.
     


  2. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    On its own, 50 hours isn't a lot, but going from 30-35 hours per week to 50+ is a big deal. IMO, the increase in pay isn't nearly enough for me to add 15+ hours to my work week (before commute time). I guess once you get to a certain pay level and number of hours, it's just not worth it anymore. At 30-35 hours/week, the amount of personal time is worth more than a few thousand dollar, but that's just one man's opinion.

    As far as your goals go, you just have to pick one and start working at it. Don't spend your time sitting around trying to figure out what to do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013


  3. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    Thanks. It's not just the increase in pay; at my last job I was in a regular role working with shitty people(both personality wise and ability wise). Now im in a very senior role working with smart people; it's a bit intimidating. I don't know if this situation would happen, but I hope I'd have the balls to leave it if it becomes my life.
     


  4. Onehitwonder

    Onehitwonder Active Member

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    Is it remotely feasible for you to move in order to shorten the commute time? (Or are you simply too happy with your current place of living and believe that staying where you are probably holds greater utility)
     


  5. jbarwick

    jbarwick Senior member

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    Let's look at this from an economic perspective. Unless you can return to your old job, that should not be factored into any decision you make. How can you not spend your life working more and commuting a ton? I find a lot of people lose time throughout the day based on their inefficiency. A woman I work with used to update rows in a spreadsheet manually each monthly which she could have done with a few formulas I showed her and she uses now. This would be 24hrs of wasted time per work year. That is on ONE thing she did so I can only imagine the other inefficiencies she has. But there are other time sucks people have that they can improve on to not waste so much time. Find yours, reduce the effort (google helps), and enjoy your time more. Hell maybe that can be gym time in the city.

    I can't help you with social goals but one this I found puzzling in your post: "Last year I set some things I wanted to achieve before I reached 30, one of them was career advancement(albeit not as much as this) but most of the goals were social. I know these goals are ultimately more important than my current job, but I have a habit of being addicted to money, power, etc. "

    So you are addicted to power and money and you got a bump in salary to help this but you don't want the responsibility that comes along with it? Maybe you need to look into this conundrum before going after anything else.
     


  6. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    You're not in the right forum.
     


  7. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    Yeah at $130k a year you should be able to afford a move. No doubt moving closer to SF would cost more money or you'd have to settle for not as nice a place but your increase in income affords you that option. A lot of people are willing to suffer long commutes for lower cost of living, I'm not one of them so I would advocate moving closer to the city. Not sure what you were shooting for with the personal goals but I don't see how working and commuting 7am-7pm prevents that. If you were working to 11pm then I would sympathize. Ok, you made a big jump in hours and responsibility but that's what you wanted. Perhaps you just need some time to adjust to the new schedule and different pace/environment. You also need to take better care of yourself. Start eating better. Cook big meals over the weekend so you can eat the left overs at work and and at night. Adjust your work out so you can squeeze in a run or some lifting during lunch or at night - I'm not a fitness freak so I can do 30 minutes of cardio or lift in 45 minutes.

    Honestly, working 30-35 hours a week allowed you to be lazy. At 50 hours a week and a long commute you need to sharpen up your time management. Write out a list of the things that are important to you and see how you can fit them into your schedule.
     


  8. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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    Treat your non-work goals just like your work goals.

    You probably have an outline in your mind of your career progression.

    Put together a non-career goal progression outline. What are your non-career goals? How do you want to achieve them? How does this mesh with your planned career?

    If your current career path is incompatible with your social goals, how long will this situation last? Will things get better?

    I sacrificed my social/family goals early on to put myself in the position to have a better balance later. I gave up 3 years of my life to get the experience and contacts I needed to make a shift into a different sort of job. I planned it that way, and made the initial sacrifice.

    If this is your situation, and your current job is a stepping stone to a more balanced life, then just suck it up for a while. If your current job is not one that puts you on a path to your holistic job/personal goal, then you may need to rethink your situation.
     


  9. LooksGood

    LooksGood Senior member

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    thanks for the responses. The answer is simple. I just don't want to make the decision out of fear or risk and greed. I really hope i can continue to improve my time mgmt and focus so when one of the things I want gives it won't be so bad
     


  10. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    Most people will live to regret putting their life on hold for work, even for a short period of time. Alternately, most people who never made the appropriate sacrifices to progress in life also invariably come to regret it.

    My belief is that it's a constant assesment you need to make. Plenty of people tell themselves "I will work crazy hours for 2-3 years to get where I want to be, then it will stable out and I can live the life I want to". It never works that way, because success and money usually begets more, but at the constant cost of time and sacrifice.

    Every step of my professional journey (and this includes college) I asked myself if I was working hard enough, on the one hand, and if I was enjoying life enough on the other. I have never, and will never, simply put my life "on hold", even for a short period of time, to get ahead.
     


  11. Medwed

    Medwed Senior member

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    I think you r not achieving your goals by making less money per hour.
     


  12. thomaslux

    thomaslux New Member

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    Mate,

    I went through a situation like this a few years ago myself - big step forward in career, very significant increase in renumeration and responsbility (partnership in a pharmaceutical enterprise) and high levels of stress as a result. All this happened at a similar time to getting married, purchasing some property and, well, things were complicated. Things I experienced including lack of sleep due to stress and a general downturn in my mood, physical health, worsening diet etc. Not great.

    I soon realised that my career aspirations weren't worth much if my physical health, mood and relationships were suffering. Also, this step forward was what I wanted - so I kept questioning myself as to why I wasn't happy. I didn't mind hard work, but time was a big factor - I didn't feel I could allocate enough of myself to my various commitments (family, partner, work) to keep everyone happy - let alone carve out some 'me' time to just settle my mind.

    Ultimately, I took action to get back as much time as possible - my wife and I purchased a home in the city so, rather than commute for hours, it now takes me three minutes to walk to work. I set myself strict work/life balance boundaries. Work gets 40 hours per week - it's up to me to perform at a high level within those hours and acheive what is required. Obviously this required dealing with a lot of pressure initially, but eventually I trained myself and those around me in regards to those boundaries. Finally, I allocated the time I needed to remain active and health, prioritise my relationship and generall keep sane (half a day a week is just 'me' time.)

    The best advice I can give is that the only truly precious resource is time. Minute by minute you are trading away something that will never come back to you - you need to be at peace with how you use your time, because tomorrow ... well, who knows.

    Good luck!
     


  13. Khayembii Communique

    Khayembii Communique Senior member

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    There comes a point in most professions where there is going to be a significant increase in the amount of time that you need to work in order to advance in your career. The plus side of this is that as you further advance in your career your hours are not likely to increase by much, and also those hours will usually be spent doing things that are less easily identified as "work". So it sounds like you took this jump with a requisite pay increase that on the surface might not be justified. My response to this is that this jump in hours was going to happen eventually in your career advancement, and so while it might not be justifiable in strictly economic terms by looking at your past and current pay, you have put yourself in a position to advance in pay as you move up without a comparable increase in hours, so your future prospects look better. Also qualitatively of course your more senior position is good for your career.

    I can't speak to specifics because I don't know what you do, though, and so I could be completely wrong, but you should be able to figure out where your career is going in the next couple of years and ask yourself if what I've said is applicable. If so, I wouldn't worry about it personally, but always be on the lookout for a job with comparable pay and less hours or comparable hours and more pay. Who knows, you could get lucky.

    As for your current situation, it sounds shitty. I'm lucky enough to live in a city that doesn't have traffic issues; my commute is 30 minutes and I can't even stand that, so I can't imagine going through the nightmare of 1-2 hour commutes every single day. If I were you I would move closer to your job. Even if this eats up the increase in your salary so you have the same amount of disposable income to play with, you'll be paying that money to have a nicer place without the insane commute and will be in a position to just use your future raises to increase your disposable income.

    Time is something that everyone has to invest. How you invest your time depends on what you're looking to get out of life. I agree with you in that work is an important thing to invest time in, but so is a personal life and that finding a good work/life balance is going to take some time as you get settled in at your new job. Don't let your career take control of your life, and don't waste time when it could be better spent elsewhere. Find ways to save as much of it as possible so that you can spend it on what you want. Getting rid of the commute would be the most significant improvement in your time management so start there.
     


  14. Onetwobit

    Onetwobit Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but I can't get over the fact that you were earning 95k working 30 hours a week at age 29. That in itself is pretty incredible.
     


  15. Frist23

    Frist23 Member

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    Yes, OP, I just want to also add that you seem to be doing pretty well as is making that kind of moola. So you shouldn't be too hard on yourself - but we all want to make more and succeed better, of course!
     


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