It’s been just over a month since I left a full-time job sitting behind a desk for 40 hours a week.  I took a giant pay-cut, and went to working part-time for my ex-full-time job as a contractor, and joined a dog-walking company on a full-time basis.

Now, instead of working 40 hours week, I work anywhere from 40 to 60 hours per week.  I do this for a lot less money and at times, a good amount more of stress.  However, I am over-the-moon happy.

And, guess what? I feel guilty about being happy, and I feel guilty for any minute/hour that I’m not focused on either one of my jobs.

Here’s what my average day looks like;

5:45am-6:00am – Wake up.

6:15am-6:30am – Begin working on contract work.  I do this until anywhere between 8:30am and 9:30am.

In between that time frame, I’m also checking in and making sure that there’s nothing of urgency going on with the dog-walking side of things.

On the days where I have walks, I’ll begin getting ready for that, or work on other dog-walking related projects from around 10:00am until the day’s done; sometime around 5:00pm.

On an ongoing basis, I’m returning emails, and answering calls for my contract job, and my day ends with anywhere from 2 to 3 more hours of contract work.  I normally end my work day around 9pm at night.

I am not complaining. Not one little bit.  I am happier than I have been in decades.  I also am able to do more ‘house’ stuff now.  I’ll start laundry, or empty the dishwasher, or sweep the floors in between work chores.

My problem is the guilt when I take 30 minutes, or an hour, to do something that I need to do for myself or for my husband or my dogs or my home.  As I type this, I’ve read and returned two emails because I can’t hear my phone ‘ding’ without checking it and responding to whatever is being asked.

There’s a phenomenon in this country (and perhaps others?) where the amount of time you ‘work’ is linked to how ‘good’ or ‘successful’ you are.  So, if I said that I only worked 20 hours a week, even if I got all my tasks done and was up to date with everything I had to do, I would probably be seen as ‘lazy’ when compared to someone who ‘worked’ for 40 plus hours a week. Spending any amount of time on leisurely activities is seen as time-wasting.  It doesn’t matter that doing those things brings well being; mental and physical.

I need to learn that as long as I can lay my head on my pillow at night, knowing that I truly put in a solid day of work and I met my commitment to those who pay me, then it doesn’t matter how many hours I actually ‘work’ or how much time I do or don’t spend on things that I enjoy.  There is truly something to be said for ‘quality’ vs ‘quantity’.  My self won’t feel better if I tie myself to a desk and invest 40 hours of non-stop work and don’t achieve my goals, as opposed to investing 10 hours sitting at a desk and reaching all my goals.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense to anyone else, but it does to me.  I just needed to verbalize how I was feeling, although I can say that as I write this post a part of my brain is screaming at me because I’m not focused on ‘work’.  Yet, I am so pleased to be writing, to be putting my thoughts down ‘on paper’.  There’s a sense of inner satisfaction at producing something (in this case this blog post) that’s coming out of me, for me.  That’s worth something isn’t it?

Let go of the guilt woman.



One thought on “Balance

  1. Only you can decide what your most important tasks are, and they can change each day. There’s no need for guilt as long as you get what’s important to you done (and that includes down time!), and no need to assign a timeframe. You’re right about the key being to strive for more balance. There are a lot of things we need to do for ourselves that we don’t get paid for. That doesn’t mean they’re not “work.”

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