Many members of the workforce regard their jobs as the most important things in their lives. Since careers provide many people with a sense of purpose and enable them to maintain comfortable lifestyles, it isn’t hard to see why. Still, unless you have a genuine passion for what you do, your job should neither define you nor eat up an unreasonable amount of your time. Additionally, seeing as many employers have no qualms about working employees silly, people often have to make an active effort to avoid overwork.
Set Boundaries with Bosses
Many employers will saddle workers with the heaviest possible workloads without a second thought. In some cases, this is the result of pure indifference to employee well-being and a refusal to view employees as anything more than worker drones. Other times, employers are genuinely unaware of when employees are being overworked as a result of silence on the latter’s part. So, if you’re consistently being given more work than you can reasonably handle, it’s in your best interest to communicate your concerns to your boss.
When addressing your boss, take care to specify how much work you’re comfortably able to complete within a given workday, and request that that limit be respected. Additionally, take care to explain the ways in which overwork stands to compromise your efficiency and overall output. If your boss is amenable to your request, you’ll hopefully be able to expect more manageable workloads moving forward. Conversely, if your appeals are met with anger, dismissiveness or resentment, consider going over your boss’s head, seeking alternative employment or possibly speaking with a labor attorney.
Set Boundaries with Coworkers
We’ve all dealt with coworkers who refuse to pull their weight. While there’s nothing wrong with stepping in and helping out coworkers on occasion, there’s no reason you should consistently be expected to do someone else’s job for them. So, if a coworker’s lack of expertise has saddled you with the work of two people, inform this individual that you already have enough on your plate and don’t have the bandwidth to do their work on top of your own.
Again, offering advice and providing occasional assistance to coworkers is fine. In fact, it’s even encouraged, as such behavior helps foster a sense of camaraderie between employees. However, there are limits to how much you should reasonably be expected to help, and at the end of the day, you are not responsible for the successes or failures of irresponsible coworkers.
Know When to End the Workday
Even after they leave the office, many workers wind up putting in hours of unpaid overtime during their personal hours. Although they’re at home, these individuals will continue to work on projects, answer emails and take phone calls despite the lack of additional compensation. No employer is deserving of this level of commitment, and if they expect you to sacrifice your personal time, they’d better make it worth your while.
With this in mind, avoid bringing work home and regard the workday as finished once you leave the office. Most of us work in order to maintain a certain quality of life, and if the workday continues indefinitely, it stands to reason that you won’t have much time to enjoy everything you’re working so hard to maintain.
If working too much has caused you to neglect your mental health, you’d do well to nip this in the bud. A good therapist can provide you with the tools you need to manage and reduce job stress and prevent yourself from being overworked in the future.
If your schedule doesn’t allow time to attend therapy sessions in-person, seek out remote options. For example, Golden State residents on the hunt for high-quality mental health care should do a search for “online therapy California.”
It’s no secret that overwork runs rampant in the U.S. In spite of stagnant wages and demanding hours, many members of the workforce dutifully plug away for employers who regard them as expendable and seek to pay them as little as possible. Even if you’ve landed your dream job, overwork should not factor into the equation. Although many of us have come to accept overwork as the norm, this behavior should be corrected posthaste. No employer is deserving of one’s entire life, and no job is worth destroying one’s mental health over. In the interest of avoiding overwork, put the pointers discussed above to good use.