We all want to have a career that we love and a job that we actually want to go to when we wake up in the morning. We study hard in high school so we can graduate and get into the college or university of our dreams, and then study some more once we enter an undergraduate program. Once we get the job we want, however, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. It’s full of hard work and it can be very difficult to achieve that elusive idea of work/life balance. But what do you do when it feels like your days are tipping more towards work and you have no life outside of your office? Here are some signs that your job is taking over your life.
1. You've Given up on a Healthy Diet
You know that you should be eating some green vegetables every day, along with a healthful breakfast, a good lunch and dinner that is home cooked rather than ordered in. These days, you laugh at the idea of eating healthy because you just don’t have the time to even make the effort anymore. You wake up in the morning so tired from work the day before that you can’t even muster the energy to make scrambled eggs and whole-wheat toast with peanut butter. So, you head out the door with nothing more than a few sips of coffee and grab a blueberry muffin, a donut or a fast food breakfast sandwich on the way to the office. Those choices are all filled with fat (and not the good kind), sugar and refined carbs and are not what you want to be consuming. You know you have zero life and are too overworked if you never bring lunch – instead, you eat whatever you can buy nearby, or you even end up skipping this mid-day meal because you’re so swamped.
2. You Never, Ever Cook
Having an actual life outside of your job title and responsibilities means being able to cook every once in a while. You don’t have to go crazy – of course we all get busy sometimes and have to rely on take-out or prepared food in order to fuel up and survive. But you know that your job is overtaking your entire life if you can’t even remember the last time you cooked for yourself. Even heating up oatmeal in the microwave in the morning, or boiling some pasta is out of the question. You’ve even stopped grocery shopping because what’s the point? You’re barely home anyway so any produce just ends up rotting in the fridge and you know you won’t end up cooking anything else.
3. You Work Early and Super Late, Too
If you’re at your desk before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. then it’s official: you have zero life outside of the office. It’s even more official if you see the sunrise and the sunset from your office window. Your desk is littered with paper cups from Starbucks, wrappers from fast food burgers and sandwiches, and empty water bottles. You basically live at your desk.
4. You Don't Make Social Plans
Part of having a real life is having friends and making plans to see them for dinner, drinks, movies, etc. Your agenda is blank except for your work meetings and appointments. People may have even stopped inviting you to events or celebrations because they know you won’t be able to come thanks to your crazy work schedule. Your friends wonder why you can’t make the effort and you wish you could but you just can’t seem to find the time. Vacations are a mystery to you – if you can’t even leave the office by 5 p.m. you know you definitely aren’t in the market for a holiday anytime soon. And besides, there’s too much work to do to even consider booking a flight somewhere.
5. You Only Travel for Work
You do leave your town or city – but only for work. You never even see the places that you go to, however, because you’re so busy working. You’re stuck inside at a conference all day long or you stay up late in your hotel room getting some stuff done.
6. You Have no Hobbies or Interests
You used to play the piano for fun and were a star art student in high school. You’ve said goodbye to anything you were interested in before because you’re never home long enough to have fun. If you have so-called free time, it’s spent reading up on issues related to your industry or attending conferences, events or seminars that will further your education and help you at your job. You basically have an addiction to your job because you have no desire to do anything not related to it.
7. You're Exhausted
This is probably the number one sign that your job is completely taking control of your life. If you’re so tired you can barely focus at the office, let alone muster the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, then that’s bad news for your inspiration and drive. You need enough energy to stay calm and pay attention to what you’re working on, and if you’re unable to stay awake, then your productivity is definitely going to suffer. It can also lead to you making lots of mistakes since we tend to mess up when we’re sleep-deprived. You also most likely experience insomnia because when you work 24/7, you start thinking about your job all the time, which means you’re going to start worrying about it.
8. You Wonder What Exercise is
Going to the gym a few times a week, heading to a relaxing yoga class, indulging your childhood love of dance at a cardio dance class or Zumba session – those are all in the past. You’ve had to stop paying your gym membership because you never have time to go. You’ve probably put on more than a few pounds thanks to that dangerous combination of never working out and eating too much junk food at the office.
9. You Start to Hate Your Job
You can’t enjoy your career as much as you once did when you’re working so hard and so much that you no longer have anything to do outside the office and no other way of defining yourself besides your job title. You might resent the coworkers that don’t seem to be staying as late as you are, or wonder why your boss is only asking you to do some extra work and doesn’t seem to be putting that burden on anyone else. You start fantasizing about what it would like to simply walk out one day and never come back. If you want to quit your job because you can’t possibly imagine sitting in front of your computer for another day, you’re definitely burnt out and your job is overtaking everything.
10. You're Always in a Bad Mood
If you’re continually stressed out and never smile, and nothing ever seems to make you happy, even things that used to in the past, then your life is definitely over and has been replaced by your job.
A job can easily take control of your life; you just shouldn’t allow this to happen. You need to gain control of your life so you can enjoy your job a bit more. Recognize any of the above? If you can relate to these signs that your job is taking over your life, it might be time to make a few changes. Your health will thank you.