Slowly Sipping Coffee

I Like Work, but I Love Life More

Last week, Mrs. SSC and the kids were on Spring Break and they went to visit her parents for a few days leaving me alone in the house with the dogs. I missed them, but it was nice getting some quiet time to myself around the house. When I mentioned this situation to a co-worker, “Sue”, she responded with, “Oh, so you’ll be able to stay late and get a lot of work done this week, huh?” To which I promptly replied, “What?! No, I plan on leaving on time or maybe even early every day. I can finally be unbalanced on the life side of work life balance.” Then she mentioned when her partner is out of town she likes to come in early and work later than usual. I didn’t think too much about it though, you know, to each their own.

Then yesterday morning Sue was having a conversation with “Bill” and was asking him if he took any time off over Spring Break.

Bill: “No, I don’t generally take time off.”

Sue: “You must roll over a lot of vacation, then. That’s nice”  (How is it nice accruing vacation if you don’t use it I wondered?)

Bill: “Yeah, I’ve got over 200 hrs of vacation right now. Well, I take a day or two here and there, but no real time off. Just generally Fridays, but even then I’ll work on things from home. It’s not stressful, I just like it.”

Sue: “Yeah I like working from the house too. I’ll usually do some work on the weekends if I can squeeze time in.”

This conversation just blew my mind. I know workaholics exist, but neither of these struck me as that kind of personality before. The way they were talking about work made it sound like no big deal to work away from the office and not enjoy their time away from the office. Then the judgy-pants came on and I started thinking “What kind of life have you built for yourself if you would rather do work from home than live your life while at home”?

Does Work Life Balance Really Exist?

My last company made a huge deal about “work life balance” yet I worked from home while employed there WAY more than I ever have worked from home at my current company. It wasn’t uncommon that I’d be on a computer from 9pm – 12am about 1-3 nights a week because I had so many crazy deadlines. My new place rarely mentions work life balance, yet it’s some of the best actual work life balance that I’ve had. I have a desktop – yes an actual tower sitting on my desk – and while I can log in remotely, I’ve done that about 6-7 times in the almost 3 years I’ve been employed here. We all had company phones but I never had any emails that “needed” a response except when I was drilling the lone well I got approved before prices crashed and the rig got taken away. It has been a pretty awesome setup.

I like getting a few moments to relax and look out the office window.

I like getting a few moments to relax and look out the office window.

Do Work While at Work

I had a “page a day” desktop calendar by The Onion a few years ago and came across a hilarious article one day that was titled, “Study finds working at work improves productivity”. In true Onion fashion the author of the article seemed shocked that “by simply sitting down and doing work, employees can dramatically increase their output of goods and services.” Are my 2 co-workers bad at working at work, or is it a different mindset that they have where they feel compelled to constantly be working? I have a pretty strong work ethic, but I also like to relax and disconnect from work. I have hobbies, too many hobbies probably, that I like to do. Even doing nothing, I count as a hobby, because it can be hard to do and takes practice to be able to do well. When I’m at the office, I give it my focus, I put in my time and effort, but I love that when it’s the end of the day – or at least mid-afternoon – I can log off the computer, get in my car, and not think about it until the next morning.



Do “Company Men” Exist Anymore?

Of course, then maybe my mindset towards my current and past company is that I see myself as a very disposable cog in the machine. In truth, if I died today, nothing would change at the office. My project would still move forward, and in less than 3 days, it would be back on track like nothing ever happened. I felt like a “company man” when I first started at megacorp, I drank the Kool-Aid and felt like it was family. Then reality hit and I realized that all the extra time I put in, all the hours I took away from my family and gave to the company got returned with nothing. Sure, a paycheck every 2 weeks, but otherwise, no one cared. Whether I worked extra or not, didn’t help my career, in fact, I just got more stuff to do, because I kept meeting crazy short deadlines. It was a horrible cycle.

After seeing thousands of people get laid off over the past 2 years, and especially the business like ruthlessness of it, I can’t say “I’m a company man through and through!” I don’t think that mindset exists anymore in younger folks, but that could be for different reasons. I like my company and am happy to come to work here each day, but if I got laid off today, I wouldn’t take it personally, it’s just business. If I won the lottery, I would show up the next day and then I’d tell everyone goodbye and leave. It’s not that I don’t like work, but I just like life outside of work SO much more.

This is so much more fun than work.

This is so much more fun than work.

What about you, what’s your mindset towards working “more than you should be working”? Do you subscribe to the “work while at work and play while at home” philosophy? Does your work require that you’re “on-call” 24/7 so it doesn’t matter where you are? I’d love to hear about it!

51 thoughts on “I Like Work, but I Love Life More

  1. Lee

    I’m with you… I love my job, it’s the best! But I love life more. Family, friends, house, garden, hobbies. I will take time with those any day over extra work hours. Science is great and all (I work in a lab), but life is better:)

    And also like you mentioned– I am a disposable unit at work. This was revealed to me during my maternity leaves: sure, everyone missed me and professed they “needed me back asap,” (we get a year off in Canada, and I had three babies so was gone from work 3 years out of 5)… but really, it was business as usual in my absence. Of course, no one could replace my amazing personality (hahahahaha), but really, the science continued.

    The jig is up, folks: life is better than work!

    p.s. the Onion is awesome

    1. Mr. SSC

      I agree. I’m fortunate in how much I love what I do and how it challenges me, but there is so much more in life I’d rather be doing that I could get that same stimulus from. Woohoo to us for getting jobs we love butloving life even more! 🙂

  2. Kate

    I agree 100%. So often I’ve seen people work 60-80 hour weeks and let go during layoffs. Why on earth should I put forth all the extra effort if it doesn’t provide some kind of job security?

    This is also part of the reason why I never had any desire to move up the corporate ladder. I love being able to leave work at the office and never log on at night or on the weekends.

    I totally know that I’m disposable, but so is everyone in this organization, including the CEO, and this is entirely by design. Anyone who thinks they’re not disposable is delusional. So why bother living your life solely around work?

    1. Mr. SSC

      That point exactly. I don’t really want to move up any more on the ladder, I’m fine where I am. My boss is making me his official DOA when he’s going to be gone for 2 weeks and I joked that when he came back I was going to tell him “Take anything that’s anyway related to mgmt track off my career plans” lol.

      Working extra hrs doesn’t offer any kind of security, just more headache.

  3. Fervent Finance

    My work requires me to to be on call 24/7 more or less. As my FU fund grows, I’ve been more brave in saying “no” or “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” But at the same time, I was emailed at about 9pm last night to do something. I was already on my computer reading personal finance blogs or researching my next business idea, so it wasn’t a big deal to do the 2 minute task. If it was more than a 15 minute task, I would of replied “I’ll get to it first thing tomorrow” instead. And Monday night from 10pm to 3am I received 10 emails from individuals. None of them were system generated. When I saw them when I woke up, my only thought was “WOW, this work really isn’t that important people – get some sleep.”

    In my group at the company I’m at, it’s pretty expected that you’re supposed to put work first no matter how many standard “work-life balance” emails we get from HR. Our bosses want us to show how we want to make it to the top. It’s a hard act for me sometimes, but I do it to the best of my ability while they are paying me. Not sure how much more I can take though 🙂

    1. Mr. SSC

      Your thoughts about the 10pm – 3am emails were the same thoughts I had going thru my head listening to these 2 co-workers talk – “WOW, what are you doing that’s SO important you want to do it ALL the time?” I know the projects that they’re working on and it isn’t anymore special or exciting or time sensitive than anything the rest of us are doing. That’s what was mesing with my mind about it.

      That was like my last company – work first, live later. Even though they were very loud about being work life balance champions. They were worse with safety. They touted all these great safety records, but it was all smoke and mirrors, because when people would get hurt, they would spend countless hrs trying to spin that it wasn’t work related and there was no time lost from the job. Pretty disheartening.

  4. Matt @ Optimize Your Life

    I am big on working at work and living at home. I am very effective and efficient when I am in the office, but when I am gone I am done for the day. It took a little while for coworkers to adjust to this and to recognize that if they needed or wanted my input on something, they would need to get it to me during the work day or before the deadline, because I would not be checking email at home.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Haha, the last supervisor I had at megacorp was HUGE on sending out emails on Saturday afternoons, and Sunday mornings and Sunday afternoons and then he’d ask me first thing on Monday, “What do you think about blah that I emailed about over the weekend?” I’d reply with, “I don’t because I don’t check email over the weekend.” It took him a while to realize that this wasn’t going to change and that “No, the work we’re doing is neither time critical or important enough to check email and discuss over the weekend.” hahahaha

  5. WealthyDoc

    It is kind of sad to hear that some people can’t enjoy time other than work. I personally love my work and hope to continue until I’m physically not able. Nevertheless, I enjoy other things even more. I can’t imagine a life so narrow that I try to “squeeze in” extra work on the weekend if I’m able? Crazy.
    You articulated your perspective well. Too many people try to be black and white. I love work or I hate work. It is in between for most of us.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’d love to continue working longer in life if it was doing something similar to what I do now. I would just need to find a way to balance it to have more free time than I currently do.

      I’m definitely in the “grey” camp of loving work and life and just creating a healthy balance between them.

  6. Mrs. COD

    I agree that it’s so crucial to be able to disconnect from work when at home. I’m sure that’s hard to do if you work from home, but there are ways to make it happen. I feel bad for your colleagues that seem unable to ever separate from work!

    1. Mr. SSC

      You’re right, I feel bad for them more than anything. Maybe not judgy-pants but more of an offering them condolences regarding what kind of life they created that working outside of the office is more attractive than being with their family. It’s super crucial to get that downtime and get your brain in a different mindset.

  7. Mrs. BITA

    Companies that toot their horns the loudest about work-life balance suck the most at it.

    “Even doing nothing, I count as a hobby, because it can be hard to do and takes practice to be able to do well. ”
    This is so true. I suck at just relaxing and doing nothing. I feel so guilty about it afterwards that it quite ruins the experience. And yet, it is important, because it recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive later.

    I do sometimes work nights and weekends on ‘work work’, but I try and do it only if I want to, because what I am working on at the moment actually happens to be so interesting that I don’t want to put it down. I push back mightily on unrealistic deadlines that would force work to encroach upon life.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Amen, sister! Everything they professed the loudest was everything they were the most hypocritical about – work life balance, safety first… Safety first unless it means we miss our metric, and then it’s “safety first” but get it done.

      Mrs. SSC is in the same boat as you at sucking at relaxing. I don’t find it too hard, but it does take practice to do it and be mindful about it, like meditation. 🙂

      I don’t mind working outside of office hrs if it’s very occasional, or something I’m really excited about, or something that’s time critical. It’s when those rare instances start becoming the rule that I think, “Well, time to look for another job if this doesn’t change, lol.”

  8. Ms. Montana

    Mr. Mt’s last job was in social services so there were constantly real emergencies dealing with real people’s lives. Honestly, it sucked. One email on a Saturday morning would ruin the day. They tried to provide a separation, but when you’re working with people stuff comes up at all hours. It’s one reason he won’t do Child Protection Services at this phase in life. Too many midnight emergencies. Like, if you’re not here in the next hour a 4 year might die situations. Maybe once all our kids are grown and his job can be his life.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’ve heard the average career span of a social worker is about 3-4 years before they’re burnt out or almost to a PTSD state with everything that they’ve seen and dealt with. When we were looking into fostering, they drove that point home a lot – you could get a kid showing up at midnight, 2 am, whenever because emergencies don’t just happen during the daytime.

      I definitely am glad to not be that sort of high pressure job with people relying on me like a policeman, fireman, soldier, social worker, etc…

  9. Fulltimefinance

    My current job and group is almost strictly 9-5. I moved departments because my last group was a 12 hour a day deal. Most of my career has been working obscene hours to get ahead, but at some point I crossed a line. My value to the company is no longer how many hours I work, it’s the knowledge I bring to the table. I got ahead and stood out early in my career by working more hours then others. But as you get along in your career you stand out less for how long you work, and more for being that person that knows what to do. I make more now working 9-5 then I made working 12 hrs a day, and my future opportunities have not changed.

    1. Mr. SSC

      That’s awesome to get to switch groups and get back to a more normal working schedule. I’m getting to that point in my career of having value from what I know, not just that I’m putting in the hours. It’s nice to be valued in that way.

  10. Matt @ The Resume Gap

    I was just going to make the same comment as Mrs. BITA: I bet that the companies that talk the most about work-life balance are also the worst about it.

    One of my former employers sent out a bi-weekly survey to every employee to monitor work-life balance. One of the multiple-choice questions was about how many hours you worked this week, and (I kid you not) the *lowest* choice was “55 hours or less.” It went up from there.

    My biggest complaint is Fervent’s: people treating minor things like they’re life or death. A little tweak to a PowerPoint is not as important as, say, Ms. Montana’s CPS example. The combination of exhausting constant urgency and the trivial nature of it all is soul-crushing.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’ll echo the comment I replied to her with – Yes, yes they are.

      I literally laughed when ir ead the choices on that survey starting at “55 hrs or less”. No thanks!

      OMG, yes my last supervisor at megacorp would have friday afternoon “emergencies” that usually ended up revolving around powerpoint, semantics, or use of white space in powerpoint (God I hate that phrase). Never anything critical to the company actually making or losing money.

  11. Jacq

    I refuse to load work email on my phone. My bosses can contact me if something major happens, then I can log in. Tuesday was full of interruptions – I helped a lot of people but didn’t get much of my own work done. I stayed and sent my bosses an email. Which one of them mentioned today, that I shouldn’t be working that late. This place is ‘for real’ about work and not work being separate time.
    Other places not so much, but my mood shows this one is way better.
    Sure when everyone is out to lunch, or I do get to work remotely the lack of interruption allows me be more efficient. Until / unless it’s that important for the company to have a higher turn around time than I have now (which is pretty good ), I’m good with the current set up. I could also tell all the juicy gossip on my loud talking coworkers though…. 🙂
    The outside work part is much more important -friends & family will remember the good times, not the work accomplishments. I think that’s the ‘why’ for a lot of FI people, increasing the out of work time.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, when we returned our work phones one option was to keep our old phone but it only accesses work email period. No other plan for it. I chose no and just returned the phone.

      I initially went to load the app to access work email from my personal phone, and halfway thru the process it asked for my encryption password for my phone. Not my “unlock the phone” password, the encryption password. Umm… I never encrypted it, because who does that, what am I a spy? Anyway, it only gives you X number of attempts to enter a password that doesn’t exist before it resets your phone to factory defaults. Yep, it wiped my phone. I had backed it up a few days prior, so I only lost a couple of days of photos, but still. Needless to say, I do NOT have work email loaded on my phone.

      I agree that at least for us the “why” of FI is increasing the time outside of the office, because it was sucking too much time out of our current lives. That’s great your current place is for real about work life balance. It’s more rare than you’d think. 🙂

      1. Jacq

        I’ve worked places where if you load the work email app they can wipe your phone when you leave, or check it at a y point of employment. If I bought the phone, and pay for it…awww hellz no. You need to reach me that urgently you give me a phone. I can have you deleting cute kitten pictures! !
        Glad you had your phone backed up, sucks that it got wiped. 🙁
        We did a list of accomplishments and future plans, and for all the travel I want to do, 2-3 week a year isn’t going to cut it. I’ve gotta get FI!

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          At our last megacorp job, they had that option. You could download the app to your phone, and check work email from it getting no benefit from the company for this, it’s their service to you, lol. An IT person mentioned that she wasn’t putting it on her android, because not only could they see anything on that phone, but they could wipe anything on your android phone without your permission. The Apple connection was restricted to jsut their email and wipe just that app, but not that loophole for th Android devices. So, needless to say – I did not have that on my phone that whole time I was there. 🙂

  12. Caren

    I’m with you. I like my job, but I’ve created a life I enjoy living when I’m not at work! I think some folks use work to fill a void. I’ve done it in the past, and it’s kinda lonely!

  13. Patricia

    I was your co-workers. I worked or thought about work 24/7 and in reality had very little life. I even knew it at the time, but after 25 years of being that way, it was habit. I tried a few times to change, but it was a well-ingrained habit. It took an early retirement and 100% life focus to figure out how to live. Work life balance was merely a nice phrase before.

    I’m learning to say “no” on my part-time gigs now… I never said no before to anything work related, even if I had family plans. I’m learning about hobbies – I never had any before. But it’s a learning process. It’s not innate. It’s not about the knowing. The knowing does not make the doing any easier. It’s about breaking old habits and learning new habits. You need knowing, incentive, rewards. Don’t disparage your co-workers. New habit formation is not easy, especially when rewards keep going on the old habits. And the work-place has lots more rewards (real or perceived) for the old habits.

    1. Mr. SSC

      That’s a good point that the work place has a lot of rewards for the old habits. My father in law went through that typical “what the hell do I do now” phase when he retired because he’d been more like you in his work ethic. Taking up hobbies, learning how to relax and do things for himself definitely took some time and work.

      I guess they’re tied into a reward system within themselves that gives them positive feedback for working and getting stuff done whether it’s in the office or at home when they are working. I more feel badly for them that they get such positive feedback from it in some way that they aren’t getting that same feedback from other things like family or hobbies or who knows what.

  14. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Like you, I learned a LONG time ago that very few companies really ever give a crap about their employees – they lay them off and life goes on. When I learned that I learned to not give a crap about the companies either. I work, I do a tremendous job – for my God and my family – not necessarily for the company. I do what I need to do well and then get back to what’s really important in life. Good for you for doing the same – your family will always thank you for it. 🙂

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, it’s not that I don’t do a great job when i’m at work, but I do my best to not let it over-rule my family life. I’ve just recently gotten better at saying no, or even just saying no, because I didn’t used to do that.

      It’s not that I don’t think work isn’t important, but I just find so many other things to be more important once I walk out of that building. It’s a nice feeling. 🙂

  15. Mrs. Groovy

    It’s hard to tell sometimes if a company has great expectations of everyone over-working, or if employees take it upon themselves to do so. In my last job, even folks who were nowhere near management level were checking email on the weekends. Why? Nothing they did was that time-sensitive and they weren’t being compensated for it, or even being treated as if they were important. But they saw others doing it and thought it would help them keep their jobs secure. For me, having worked from home, it was important to keep boundaries. When I was done working I didn’t go near my computer or phone.

    We also were allowed to carry over 8 weeks of vacation every year without losing any of it. And can you believe some employees still had more and forfeited it? The only reason I let some of mine bank during my last year was to cash it out when I retired. I had around 5 weeks pay which was very nice.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I found out my current manager has maxed out his rollover to where he’s essentially forfeiting it because they won’t let you accure more than ~269 hrs… That’s about 33 weeks of vacation… Wow, just wow. I was blown away.

      I left ~4 days to rollover this eyar, because well, we’d gone on 3 or so vacations, but budgeted them around my Fridays off really well, so I didn’t have to use as much as usual. Plus, I didn’t take weeks off around Xmas and New Years, like i usually do, and I just enjoyed the crickets chirping around the office. Since we’re planning so much travel this year, it made more sense to roll it over.

      I’d think about getting it paid out, but here they credit you per month for vacation hrs. My last megacorp job gave you the full sum Jan. 1st, and when I quit in June I also got 3 weeks paid out. I don’t think that would work here unless I’d accrued some previous years rollover vacation. Boo…

  16. Miss Mazuma

    The conversation between your coworkers reminded me of a post I read recently (forgot who wrote it!) that talked about being busy as a way to one up each other. “My life is way more hectic than yours I even have to work when I am at home” type of thing. But who really wins in the end? Being frazzled and never resting is not sustainable in the long run. It may get you a promotion but that promotion means you will probably work harder based on the amount of work it took you to get there – it’s a never ending cycle. Balance is a difficult equation which is always in flux. Some days you find it, some months you don’t. At least taking the weekends to do relax is a step in the right direction.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah, that’s a burnout cycle waiting to happen with working all the time and not resting yourself. I plan on looking at it as a sense of pride where I can say – “Nope, I don’t check email on the weeknds” even if it means I’m not zooming up the corporate ladder. I don’t have the “want to” to keep going up the ladder, and hope I can stay where I am the last couple of years.

      Some days it’s in balance, some months it isn’t lol. But mostly it is. 🙂

  17. Jason

    I think I have a pretty good work-life balance because of my profession as a teacher. I get to basically do the kind of research I want, teach the courses I want, and work to make the lives of students better. I am not a company man, however, though. I would jump ship to another institution if necessary and I actually plan on it, but I do love being a professor and I am definitely an industry man. I have drank the kool-aid and truly believe in the mission of a university, particularly the liberal arts. That is one reason I don’t think I will ever RE. The mission of my job gives me too much of an identity.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Hey…. Is this Mrs. SSC signed into a spoofed account? hahahaha I read her your comment over the weekend and she just shook her head yes and said, “Yep, exactly.”

      Actually, our whole FFLC plans ahve changed because of how much she likes her job, so look for a post this week that covers that in a bit more detail. “How to get to a relocation FFLC type of living and still let Mrs. SSC work?”

      I wouldn’t be surprised if she kept at this current job for another 5-10 years, easily. Maybe longer, who knows.

  18. ZJ Thorne

    I graduated in to terrible times and have never had a true career job. After my graduate degree, I bounced around for a year in non-degree related work and then fell in to temping in my career. The money is good, but I am absolutely disposable. We get no notice that a project is ending. For the most part, I’ve been fully employed for the past few years, but I can’t count on the promise of employment. With all that said, I see no point in being a company man. Even working in non-profits, it is clear how disposable people and their humanity are. Overwork is just not worth it. (except for OT, I like OT)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I could see the appeal of OT, especialyl if you know you’re disposable. I’m company man in the sense I feel loyal to my company and won’t make stupid decisions that could affect the company. When asked about how to handle certain situations by co-workers I remind them, “Hey guys, this is our company. We all most likely own stock in this company, so what decision would you as a stockholder want to see being made, and look at it from that standpoint.” Maybe I’m more company man than I let on, but if something better came along, even if that’s no worka t all, I’m fine saying goodbye and moving on to the enxt phase of my life.

      I’m definitely out of my company man phase like I was at megacorp. Man did I drink the kool-aid… After a bit, I realized “we don’t always make the best decisions. Just because we came up with an idea doesn’t mean it’s good.” I think that realization was when the Kool-aid effects wore off and I saw the emperor had no clothes, lol.

  19. Steve from Arkansas

    I loved my job most of my career because it let me be creative and solve problems and lead others, things I enjoyed. I didn’t take all my vacation because work sent me to fun places all the time that felt like vacations, free ones! Work bought me expensive meals, paid for nice hotels and air travel and my wife came along when she wanted to. When work stopped being fun I retired and retirement is also wonderful. I don’t regret that I worked some long hours, those were fun times! And I managed to work a lot and not neglect my children or spouse. Work life balance means something different to everyone. And the amount of the work part is impacted by how you feel about your job. Mine was a favorite hobby for a long time. Now it isn’t, no regrets. I don’t see work and life as opposing forces, work is part of life.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Those are some great reasons to not vacation, especially if you get to bring along your wife. Especially if you love what you do and it doesn’t feel like work. I mean, sounds like a great gig. 🙂

      I really enjoy what I do now, and like you, it’s fun, engaging, exciting, creative and definitely problem solving. That’s why I love doing it, and if I could be in a better locale, I’d see doing it even longer than I currently plan. My dream would be if we could relocate and I could pick up a PT petroleum geologist gig with a small company. It’s just so damn fun!

      I agree, I also don’t see it as opposing forces and when I’m onvacation or away from work, I’m still talking geology and explaining lots of science concepts to our kids. I just try to be more disconnected because currently, I don’t have a reason to be connected once I leave the office. That’s what I don’t understand with my co-workers being so “on” all the time, because they have similar work “demands” or non-demands. I jsut don’t see the appeal of being on if you don’t need to “be on.”

  20. Amber tree

    There is a mix in my work life that works. When at work, i mostly work. I do read some personal emails or a blog comment and I do look at the markets from time to time.

    When at home, I try not to work. The nature of my work and personality is such that when I am stuck on a problem, it will pop up to the front of my thoughts for attention at times I can not control. When that happens, I work

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I definitely disconnect at the office when my brain needs a break. With my job, there are a lot of periods where I’ll work on a problem hardcore for 1-3 hrs and then I need to shut the brain off for a minute. Sometimes I’ll take a walk, or check email, or read a blog, but like you, when at work, I mostly work. 🙂

      When at home I try to be at home and not thinking about work, or distracted by work. It’s nice that I’m just not that important, lol. When I do think of work stuff while away from work, I just make a mental note to remember when I get to the office. I have solved many work problems while I’m “at home” or away from the office. I think being removed from the problem sometimes lets my brain think about it better and find a connection I wasn’t seeing before.

  21. Song

    I think I’m pretty fortunate to actually have a job that has decent work-life balance. I don’t believe in “work hour” though, but rather “work done”. I get a pay check from the company, and the company expects me to contribute a certain amount of work that brings them value. If I can achieve that in 30 hours, all the power to me, I’m probably being underpaid then. If I need to achieve that by working 60 hours, I’m probably working at a position not suited for my skill level (or the company is being unreasonable, in which case maybe the company is not for you).

    I definitely wish the notion of “company man” still exists like back during my parents’ generation, but no I don’t believe in it.

    I don’t follow the “work while at work and play while at home” though, especially because my job nature doesn’t require me to do so 🙂 I work when I feel productive, and I take breaks if I feel like i’ll only be churning out unmeaningful work for the hour.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah – work done trumps work hour for sure! Nice way to capture that concept. My work done is really good, but the actual work hours are probably not the full 9 hrs we’re supposed to be doing “work.” I definitely need to disconnect in my current job, even just small “mind breaks” throughout the day. Some things I do get taxing on the old brain, so when I complete something, I’ll go take a walk, catch up on football news, gmail, blog posts, etc… Then when I’m ready, I dive back into work fully recharged mentally and ready to work on the next thing. 🙂

      I should ahve said, “mostly work at work” hahaha because yep, like you, sometimes I know I’m just going to be unproductive for an hr or so, and instead of freaking out about it, I embrace it, accept it, relax and then hit the ground running on my next task when I get started on it.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yeah, and it’s weird because she has so many “outside hobbies” I wouldn’t have guessed she likes logging in from home and working so dang much. Like others have said, I know her job and there isn’t anything that is that time sensitive.

      Every person has their own reasons for why they do what they do and mine don’t have to line up with hers.

  22. Ty Roberts

    I’m firmly in your camp. In fact, before I accepted my current job I told the hiring manger up front “when I’m at work, I work. When I’m at home, I’m dad.” He assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem. And he was right – I’ve never worked for a company that offered more work/life balance. If that ever changes, then I’ll need to find something new because I love my life way more than I like my job.

    Good post SSC!

    1. Mr. SSC


      With this job when I was undergoing my 4 hr interview – seriously it was friggin ridiculous – I brought that up about being worried about work life balance. They said then it shouldn’t be a problem, outside of when a well is actively drilling which is to be expected, and man they were right.

      Like others have pointed out the companies that are the loudest about it can be the worst at actually practicing it, and these guys rarely tout that, yet are strong proponents of separation from work and life and keeping a healthy balance so you don’t get burnt out.

  23. Mr. Sifi @ Should I FI?

    You’ve raised so many great points in this article. I think the concept of work/life balance is often overused by many companies. A majority of the time we are in control of our work/life balance. Like you, when I first started out in my company I drank the kool-aid, responded to ever single email, showed up at ever meeting, and checked my work email at home. When I finally decided to stop answering every email and only attending meetings that I thought were important, I realized something; the show goes on without me and it has made little difference in my ability to excel at the job.
    I definitely agree with you about the “company man” mindset not existing anymore in our younger generation. Back in the day, people had a lot of pride in their company and had no desire to leave. Today, people are on the constant search for other opportunities. I believe the major reason for this is that at most companies we’re dispensable and we know it. Why not look out for ourselves?
    Anyways, all of this to say that a work is work and even when you enjoy what you do. The best days are when you log off, walk out the door and don’t have one thought about work until you arrive in your office the next morning!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I totally agree with your comment. The best days are when you log off, walk out the door and don’t think about work until you get back to the office the next day. Mrs. SSC used to joke that I was “too happy” on Fridays or right before vacations, because I was visibly a LOT happier and bubblier and what not than usual. I think most of it stemmed from knowing I don’t have to think about work for the next 2-5 days and I got a remarkable boost from that.

      I love that my current job lets me feel that most every day and when I’m at work I can be engaged, get a lot of satisfction out of it, and enjoy the people I work with, yet I can also leave work at work, every day. It’s pretty awesome.

      I do have pride in my company and chose well/lucked out landing where I did when I left megacorp. I don’t kid myself that I could be laid off tomorrow, today, 6 months from now, because, well it’s a business. Sometimes that kind of stuff happens. That doesn’t mean I still don’t really like working at/for my company though. I’m just not company man thru and thru these days.

  24. Troy @ Market History

    As the owner of my own business, I’m 100% dedicated to work all the time. I don’t have much of a personal life, and any spare time I either spending working out or surfing. To each their own I guess. We all have different goals in life.

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