I’m going to try to write this post without giving too much away about my personal life/ current work situation. Wish me luck!
I’ve held a few jobs now post-college, and I finally feel like I know my little corner of the advertising industry pretty well. Spoiler alert: it kind of sucks.
Every coworker I meet is a stressed-out workaholic, and it’s pretty sad to see. More and more people are turning the big 3-0 with absolutely nothing going for them outside of work. I’ve never been particularly interested in raising a family, but I don’t know how anybody can anymore. Salaries and hourly rates get lower every year, yet every employer expects workers to be available 24/7. Whether you want to call it a job or a career, work that requires you to be available 24 hours a day does not equate to success.
I’m starting to look forward to the day I lose my job to a robot.
Everywhere you go now, people expect you to “check in” and answer emails not only outside of business hours, but on holidays and weekends as well. Have I mentioned we aren’t working on a cure for cancer? I’m a salaried employee, and I made it clear from my interview that I am not available on weekends, nor do I expect to regularly work late. It’s not even an issue of not getting overtime. The issue is overall happiness and general well-being. Nobody really wants to spend all of their time working for a company that they have no stake in.
Let’s look at it another way: if I run my own business, then every minute work is for my own benefit, and I’m actively working towards greater success.
Handling more than 9 hours of work in a job that barely pays the bills simply because your employer is too cheap to fully staff itself is not the same as having a career. Already I’ve seen too many examples of young employees spending all night at the office because there’s simply too much work for them to get to during business hours.
I believe we cross the line between a job and a career when we can experience the benefit that comes from putting in the extra hours firsthand and every time. A career should bring you happiness and a feeling of satisfaction; a job, on the other hand, is something that you do because you know you have no choice, and you look forward to getting it over with. I’ve come to learn that in the advertising industry, many opportunities lure candidates in with the promise of a career, and quickly turn into a job.
We all need to start learning to say NO.
Where I work, we recently lost one of our team members who got a seemingly amazing opportunity at a fun, exciting company. We were short-staffed before this team member left (I’ll call her Jessica), and now it’s been nearly 3 weeks since her last day. Prior to Jessica’s leaving, I was willing to put in a few extra hours here and there for the good of the team. After all, we were all feeling the pressure of being short-handed, but when we each gave a little extra time, most of the day’s work was done at a reasonable time. Now that Jessica’s gone, though, we’re even more swamped, and yet expectations are even higher for completing new ad hoc projects with a quick turnaround time.
I’ve started putting my foot down.
I was working over 9-hour days without a break before Jessica left. I’m not sure if management just assumes I have nothing going on outside of business hours, but I honestly don’t care what management thinks at this point.
Employees are being burnt out.
I would very much love for this post to be shared, as I know that I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I am not foolish enough to be tricked into thinking that I have a “career” just because my boss expects me to be working around the clock, and nobody else should be, either.
We need to go back to valuing life outside of work, because at the end of the day, it’s not work that we’re going home to.
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