Don’t use passion as an excuse to overwork yourself

Don’t use passion as an excuse to overwork yourself

So you’ve made it. You’ve finally bagged your dream job, thrown caution into the wind and pursued the career path you’ve always wanted. Congratulations! Now the hard part: How to not lose sight of yourself while pursuing your passion.

Not to be a hypocrite, but I’ve been there myself every now and then. I’m pretty happy with the job I have right now. But whenever I get the (completely baseless!) nagging feeling that I’m the runt of my team or I feel like I’m not doing spectacularly at work, I start feeling like an overall failure. I found myself doing a bit of self-reflection and asking myself questions like: Since when did I start tying my work to my overall self-esteem?

Since when did I start tying my work to my overall self-esteem?

“If you choose a job you like, you won’t work a day in your life,” said one too many Tumblr posts in 2010. It’s a sweet thought (and sure, a great typography wallpaper), but it’s not always true.

Read more: Why I’m afraid of labelling myself as a creative

Work, even if we hate it or you love it, is still work. There will always be deadlines or a snarky collaborator or moments of crippling self-doubt. We all need to remember to not let our minds get marinated in the stress and anxiety that work can bring—especially when you’re passionate about it.

Work, even if we hate it or you love it, is still work. There will always be deadlines or a snarky collaborator or moments of crippling self-doubt.

Our generation is a-okay with being “work martyrs,” says this story by The Boston Globe. According to an online study, work martyrs are people who consider themselves “dedicated, indispensable, and racked with guilt if they take time off.” 

Read more: You might need a doctor to help you with burnout

The scary part is that work martyrs enjoy being perceived that way. So we feel guilty about taking leaves that are god- (and state-) given rights. Looks like we’re not called the “Burnout Generation” for nothing.

Maybe it’s because we’re more likely to operate on a “Work is life!” mindset rather than treat jobs as an activity to generate money. According to this study on generational differences, Gen Y people consider jobs as a “lifestyle option.” We don’t compartmentalize; we take our jobs to heart. But it’s hard when our jobs don’t really care about us or our health as much as we care about it.

It’s hard when our jobs don’t really care about us or our health as much as we care about it.

That also becomes a problem when we’re living in a hypercompetitive economy where standards for employment grow increasingly higher. According to this Heartland Monitor Poll, 78 percent of baby boomers believe people our age are poised to find it “harder to get started in life” than before. (LOL, tell us about it.)

Read more: Keep these in mind when you feel like a failure

The burden of becoming a “viable employee” creates more and more pressure on us: It seems like we need three degrees, a two-year internship and be a jack-of-all-trades before getting an entry-level job. 

As we all know, most Filipinos don’t have the resources to become the super-employee that the job market wants. If we continue to attach our self-worth to work, at this rate, we’re bound to burn ourselves out—which is already a World Health Organization-acknowledged epidemic, by the way—or worse: Damage our mental and emotional health. 

The burden of becoming a “viable employee” creates more and more pressure on us: It seems like we need three degrees, a two-year internship and be a jack-of-all-trades before getting an entry-level job. 

But we all have the same hours in a day as Beyoncé, right? Sure, we do. But the thing is we don’t have the same privilege as Beyoncé. We don’t have personal chefs and two executive assistants to help us with life outside of work. 

Read more: Acknowledging privilege and what you should do about it

And besides, even Queen B herself had to sacrifice a lot to be as amazing as she is. “I’ll never push myself this far ever again,” she said about her Beychella 2018 performance. If Beyoncé says she’s putting boundaries on herself for her personal health’s sake, then we all should. 

Oh, but don’t do it for Beyoncé (even though I know I would). Do it for you.

Art by Tine Paz Yap

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Giselle Barrientos
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