I woke up at 7:40 am today (Monday), as I usually do, to start my day at my job. All day on Sunday, I was questioning if I have to work on Monday, considering Monday is a holiday. Normal places with an executive staff who treats their team like humans and not machines would give them the day off. However, when you come from an environment that’s the total opposite of normal (aka, my old job, the one that laid me off), then you’re weary/skeptical of anything that’s “normal,” because it’s not your normal.
Imagine my surprise, my excitement and my sheer joy upon waiting until 8:15 that not a single person’s “online” button on Slack was lit green except for mine. Imagine my glee noticing that not a single person wrote what stories they’d be writing throughout the day.
Not a single, solitary thing has been written on Slack since last night. I am…floored to say the least.
It’s important to have a healthy work/life balance, and it’s something that I’ve actually been harping on throughout the quarantine thus far. I’d definitely considering myself a workaholic, which is both a blessing and a curse. I get shit done but also freak out when I’m not working. If I’m watching TV or going on Pinterest pinning, I beat myself up about it later. It’s gotten to the point where I actually have had to force myself to nap JUST so I slow down. I’ve been burnt out before, and you’d think that I’d be like “let’s never burn out again,” but as a writer, I’m also a masochist low key. During lockdown, I’ve gotten much better at relaxing, but it’s a continual work in progress.
Something that’s even more important than an individual instilling a work/life balance is a job that wants that so badly for their staff. For context, my old job (blegh) would have us work in four-hour increments on holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, because “our numbers/stats are terrible,” and it was a way to try to get our numbers back up, despite our numbers being shitty regardless, especially on holidays since people are with their friends and family and hopefully not by a computer to search a site casually. We didn’t get opportunities to just relax. At one point though, I think everyone for the most part was like “eff that” and just didn’t step foot by their computer during holidays. Of course, there were repercussions, but mostly for whoever the managing editor felt like bullying that day (some people are not meant to be leaders).
I don’t come from the healthiest work environment, which makes me more accustomed to treading lightly with other jobs or projects I’ve worked on since. I don’t know how people operate. However, I know that things at my former job were NOT normal (I could probably go on and on about this, but we’d be here forever if I did), and the executive staff was also not equipped to lead. At all.
It’s important for individuals to take a step back sometimes––no matter how much they love feeling accomplished, no matter how much they love what they do––and just be like “not today.” It’s also important for jobs––no matter how much they love money, site traffic and engagement––to just be like “not today.”
Workers are people too, something we’ve DEFINITELY harped on during quarantine, and it’s important to treat them (and ourselves) with a little tenderness.