Work vs. Life Balance

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now, I just haven’t found the time. I often find myself saying that a lot.

Over the past few months I’ve been really busy at work, some of it good stuff and some of it meh. The good stuff continues to be working on a few really great projects – great teams, great clients and stuff that is interesting and is challenging me, but where I also think it’s challenging the agency for the very best of reasons.

And the meh stuff is there too. Too many emails. Too many meetings. Some projects that I don’t think are a perfect fit. Some system issues.

And also other stuff which crops up –  questions, queries and have-you-got-a-minute’s.

I’ve written about this before, but I’m in the mind-set that, wherever possible, if you say you’re going to do something, you just do it. Yes, I could plan in Task A, B or C for several weeks in the future and make my life easier, but in a commercial and time-sensitive (1) environment that’s not going to cut it. Some of the things I do have a direct impact on wider teams and any delays could quite easily cause longer term issues on a project. I don’t want that.

And the result is that over the past year or so I generally end up staying later in the office or get in earlier to either finish a project task(s) or catch up on the day to day stuff. I work in a agency with some brilliant and committed people.  I’m not alone working hard and I’m really not preaching to be a sole martyr here, just being matter-of-fact.

It does add up though, averaging around seven hours a week. Not daft, but it adds up to another working day, give or take. Again, I work with people that might read this that do way more and I know that (but it’s still not perfect).

And in all cases I’m doing this extra time as I want to, I’m not paid overtime nor do I get time off in lieu.  I’d rather do the work there and then, rather than go into the office the next day on the back foot. One thing that I’m really good at is being done with work when I’ve left the office. I don’t have a work phone, don’t have the work e-mail client on my personal phone and have never checked work emails from home. I’ve been like that since I can remember, I don’t know why I’m like that.

Personally, I’m pretty cool with my doing some extra hours. I’m trying to do the best job I can and realise that at times that takes a bit of extra effort.

But things are different now as I’m a father and husband. If I’m doing ‘normal’ hours, then I thankfully get to see my daughter for an hour in a morning (7-8am) and an hour and a half in an evening (5.30-7pm).  I say thankfully as I know people who have silly commutes and only get to see their children at a weekend – that’s proper shit.

And so if I choose (not ‘need’) to work earlier or later then I generally miss out on either giving my girl her breakfast or giving her a bath and reading her a story. Not seeing her for those few hours on a day really hurts, I hate myself not being there for her.

And for what? A brochureware website with a CMS query? A website where a page that hasn’t loaded right once? Really?

I’m meant to insert a pointless photo to break up the text, right? Complete and utter smugness. Bloody stock photography. Zero chance these are even related? Who does this near a sand dune too? Picture from Huffington Post.

And you know what? I know that I’m not going to change. I’ll be in the office early tomorrow if there’s something crucial that needs doing.  It’s still a thousand times better than having no projects to work on or being bored shitless.

I’m not sure what happens next though. I don’t want to be a Dad that continues to miss spending time with their children (2) + (3).


(1) Read that as ‘I want it now. Give it me now.’

(2) Baby Rhodes #2 is due in January 2016

(3) When I re-read this, it sounded like I have some deep psychological scars from a missing father figure in my life.  I don’t.  My Dad is awesome.  He’s a retired builder and was always at home for brekkie and tea, no matter where he was working.  I’d like to think that it was due to him wanting to spend time with me, but it was probably cos he was hungry.  We’ve only felt out twice, once in 1988 when I knocked over a bucket of water in the bathroom after he told me not to jump over it.  And once in 2001 when I got so drunk I couldn’t walk.