Posted in Blog on 11 Feb 2020
Pressure that comes to building a career can sometimes have adverse effects on a person’s personal life, whether that be present (or future) romantic partnerships, or, those with friends and family members; this is especially so when the goals are ambitious. Being married to the job can sometimes take a substantial portion of attention away from life outside of work which may ironically actually end up as a detriment to both personal and professional development.
The “always on” culture of the Twenty First Century means that we rarely switch off, from checking emails in the evening to completing overdue projects during the weekend. In a report published by Cartridge People last year, 48 % of British workers felt stressed at least once a week in the workplace, and for 12%, this was experienced every day. Furthermore, it is calculated that 15m days are lost each year due to work-related stress with over 500,000 UK employees falling ill as a result of this.
It is no secret that professional services professionals work long hours; in fact, our 2020 Salary and Benefits Benchmarker has revealed that those in the Legal sector work on average 5.6 hours overtime each week. Long-hours, high pressure environments, and stressful working conditions may be part and parcel of a career within Legal, however, left unchecked this leads to an increased chance of burn-out and a decline in the quality of a person’s mental health and well-being (even in the best of professionals). Research released this year by psychology PhD student Lucinda Soon, a former practising solicitor, also found that Solicitors have a relatively low sense of psychological wellbeing, scoring 44.3 on the ‘Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale’ - five points lower than the national average of 49.9.
It may be hard to discontinue old habits and to step away from work that needs to be completed, especially in a world that doesn’t seem to stop. Ultimately though, rest and relaxation are essential to successful job performance, with health studies stressing overworking as a contributor towards cognitive decline and issues relating to memory. Time spent away from work will ultimately give you chance to reflect on your professional development and help put into perspective what is important to you.
Dedicating the majority of your free time to work out of hours can also mean that you miss out on expanding alternative skills and broadening your horizons and views. Lessons can be learnt outside of the office and inspiration may strike in the strangest of places.
There is nothing wrong with being in a long-term relationship with your career, however, without an effective work-life balance, workaholics may find themselves compromised when it comes to climbing the ladder and achieving their aspirations.
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