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Permission To Not Feel Guilty

September 5, 2017

My 17 year old son had to work on Monday. For those of you outside the United States, Monday was the Labor Day Holiday in the United States. Banks, and government offices are closed. It is considered one of the six “big” holidays that most salaried employees get as a holiday. The others are

New Years Day
Memorial Day
Independance Day
Thanksgiving Day

But, Labor Day is also a big shopping day. My son complained to me,

Why do they call it ‘Labor Day’ holiday when the people who have to work the hardest don’t get it off?

I took the opportunity to explain to him the value of getting a salaried position. The truth is, I had to work on Labor Day and I have one of those salaried positions. However, our offices were open to take calls and something broke. I spent about 4 hours on Monday working with our client to solve an IT issue.

The truth is, I didn’t mind it too much. See, I really like my job. I get to do interesting things. I work with great people. My company supports a product that I can feel good about supporting. I take great pride in my work.

But, it does get to be a lot of hours at times. Last weekend was one of those times. I had outage calls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, the Monday holiday and then another one on Tuesday. I try to balance it out by taking time for kid and family events when I need to, but the kids know that if Dad gets a call, he has to work.

I used to avoid the label of “workaholic.” But, I realized it in the same way an alcoholic might insist that he doesn’t have a drinking problem. However, I read something today that makes me a lot more comfortable with my work/life balance.

In today’s online version of The Wall Street Journal, there’s an article called “When It’s Ok To Be a Workaholic.” The point of the article is that working too much is bad for your health, unless you like your job. And in fact, if you love your job, there’s absolutely no danger to working longer hours.

The disruptive part of my job is the outage calls. We are a round the clock shop, so I literally can get a call anytime night or day. And the way our support model is set up, I’m the very first person that our operations teams call when there’s an issue. I’ve taken phone calls while on camping trips. I’ve taken calls while hiking up a mountain. (Great cell reception once you get above the treeline.) I’ve taken calls during movies, like at the movies. I’ve taken calls during church, during court appearances, you name it and I’ve taken a call. Yes, that includes middle of the . . .night.

And they are often inconvenient, but I don’t hate them. I enjoy them. I took a call in May while sitting in a beautiful mountain meadow. The weather was perfect, I had a gorgeous view of the mountains and a narrow line of sight to the cell towers down the canyon. It was honestly, one of the most enjoyable days of the year.

And according to the Wall Street Journal, I no longer have to feel guilty about liking my job. I do still feel guilty when my job conflicts with family time. But, they understand that the job pays the bills. And actually, I take my phone with me and we do whatever the event is anyway.

It’s a strange kind of relief knowing that it’s not been some grand delusion when I thought I was doing okay with an out of whack work/life balance. Turns out I was right.

And my boss has promised that they will work on getting me a backup so that for some things I can finally leave my phone at home.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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