“You’re killing yourself for a job that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead”. This was the headline that captured my attention on facebook a few days ago, and prompted me to read the ensuing blog post on mindbodymiko.com. Miko is pictured above and is a beautiful, smart, ambitious and resilient young woman destined for stardom as a plastic reconstructive surgeon. In the words of her colleagues, she is the real-life Christina Yang. But in her post, Miko writes about why she has given up. To paraphrase and summarise her story, it’s just not worth sacrificing your soul and all the parts of you for a job, employer, or organisation that does not care for your wellbeing as an employee.
There are many industries where varying degrees of the callous and un-empathetic behaviour she describes is rife, some even being downright illegal as in Miko’s situation. Reading her post made me reflect on the legal and banking worlds that both my husband and I have grown up in. Working ridiculous hours, sacrificing family time amongst other life time as well as physical and mental health – all for the lure of supposed success and money. My 20 year old self would have said that’s just the way it is, you have to do your time and to make it. I suspect 20 year old millennials today, despite the bad rap they may get when it comes to their working attitudes, would say no, there is a better way and I won’t work for an employer that does not support work/life balance. Work hard sure, but more importantly work smart. Wise thoughts I would have counselled my younger self with.
Another perspective and bit of thinking to take away from this: don’t be complacent. What I mean by that is it’s obvious enough to see when enough is enough. When to call time on sacrificing your wellbeing for work because you are being treated like rubbish. But what if you’re being treated wonderfully?
Because you’re among the lucky ones that work for a wonderful employer that emphasises and supports the wellness of its staff? This can have the effect of creating deep loyalty for your organisation and as a result you inadvertently and willingly sacrifice more and more of yourself because you are simply so dedicated to this job that you so love. It may sound ridiculous, but it happens. I’ve been there.
You are happy to check your work phone whilst at dinner with family, because you know there’s that super important thing that you might get an email about. Yes, your manager doesn’t expect you to reply on a Sunday, but you want to because you’re so engaged. That there, is the complacency I am talking about. Be careful how far you let that complacency go because happy or not at work, you are still sacrificing things in your personal life. Like not being mentally present with family. It’s all about work/life balance, just don’t forget about that balance when instead of hating work, you’re loving it – you’re still letting the scales tip in one direction at the detriment of the other.
I highly recommend reading Miko’s story, go to: https://mindbodymiko.com/the-ugly-side-of-becoming-a-surgeon/