Why We Feel “Married” to Our Jobs
It’s a phrase that’s often used and with most of us spending at least a third of our day at work, it’s no wonder we sometimes feel that our day job is likened to a marriage – minus the anniversary cards and presents, romance, and arguments. And in some extreme cases, our job has cost us a marriage.
A new poll found that one in 10 Brits have seen their relationship fall apart due to their dedication to their jobs and nearly a quarter admit having to cancel plans such as date nights and birthdays as a result of it. In fact, three in 10 say they feel like they’re always at work, even when they’re at home.
Thankfully my job hasn’t cost me my marriage but it’s led to a number of arguments because as you know news never stops – something my husband doesn’t really get. As a journalist, we get a certain buzz when there’s major breaking news, and even better if it’s a rolling news story, and unless you work in news it’s probably something you can’t understand.
Take the news of former South African president Nelson Mandela passing away. It broke at around 9 pm GMT and it was well out of office hours so I was definitely not working and I wasn’t even on-call. So imagine the horror on my husband’s face when the first thing I did was to call my cousin in Johannesburg to ask him if he was free to do a quick interview about Mandela’s death. He agreed, I called the newsroom and there was the start of at least 48 hours of back-to-back coverage of Mandela’s passing. I was glued to the rolling 24-hour news channels to soak up as much information I could but my husband was getting increasingly annoyed as I delayed going to bed further and further. “He’s died. That’s it. That’s the news. What else do you want to know?” he grumbled as he took himself off to bed but in my job, there was still lots to know.
I did the same while awaiting the news of the next president of the United States, hoping and praying it wouldn’t be Trump by waking up every hour through the night to check the regular updates on the news app and twitter on my phone and again when the EU referendum result was coming in. I was gutted with both results having convinced myself that it would be near impossible for either Trump to be president or for the UK to leave the EU. But something in me just couldn’t switch off and it’s not just the news industry where people can’t break free from their jobs.
A recent poll found that one in 10 Brits have seen their relationship fall apart due to their dedication to their jobs and nearly a quarter admit having to cancel plans such as date nights and birthdays as a result of it. In fact, three in 10 say they feel like they’re always at work, even when they’re at home.
Fifty-two percent believe this is linked to new technologies allowing us, for instance, to check emails on our phones. Seven in 10 admit being contacted outside of working hours via either text, email or phone for work-related matters and a quarter go as far as saying they spend more time messaging bosses and colleagues than their own friends.
When asked why they put these extra hours, more than half say it’s simply because they have too much work. However, a quarter feel they’re being pressured by their boss, and an additional 18 percent feel they might lose their job otherwise. They’ll do things such as checking work emails (23 percent), admin (40 percent) and preparing reports (25 percent) outside of working hours.
Sadly it’s not only our relationships that suffer when we work too much. It can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing too.
Chieu Cao, Co-founder of Perkbox says:
These findings serve as a stark reminder about priorities and how new technologies, whilst providing many benefits, are also blurring the lines between our private and professional lives. As employers, we need to start managing people based on their outputs rather than hours worked, leading by example and empowering teams to make their own decisions. Our objective should no longer be keeping employees engaged at work, it should be catering for their entire employee experience, so they feel fulfilled inside and outside of it.
So what can you do to leave your work ‘at work’?
- Try not to have work emails on your phone or personal tablet/laptop.
- Listen to music or watch something on your phone/tablet on your commute home to help you “switch off” from work-mode.
- Switch off your work phone or tablet/laptop – you can’t look at them if they’re not on.
- Make plans for the evening whether it’s going for a run, hitting the gym or a date night with your other half – and then stick to it. DON’T even think about canceling for work!
There are times when we do have to work later than our normal hours or indeed bring our work home but as long as it’s every once in a while and doesn’t become the norm then maybe you can enjoy your married life for a lot longer!