May 23

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Regret #2: I wish I didn’t work so hard.

By Odyssa

May 23, 2023


100,000 hours at work during our lifetime. One-third of our lives is spent at work. One-third!

This study by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2005  takes into account differences in retirement age, life expectancy, and working hours around the world.

Office Ody, 2018.

In my 20s, the only thing I wanted was to be a manager and carry a company laptop around the office.

It took me years to get both. But I left that world primarily because it stopped giving me the fulfilment I needed. It just stopped working. 

I began disliking sales meetings. I was devastated about the dishonesty of a former manager I highly respected. The office politics, gossip. I felt exhausted from being required to attend events I didn't want to take part in. I no longer believed in any of my employer's vision and mission. Nothing felt true anymore. 

Despite my accomplishments at work, it got to a point where I was pretending to fit in. There's something calling me outside the concrete buildings and cold conference rooms. 

I went from being Miss Office Engagement to writing this blog post in a classroom where I am the teacher. 

Class 6A6 end-of-school cards

The illogical progression of my career made me the ultimate jobhopper. I had the resume I immediately discarded when I was working as a recruiter for IBM. 

But as I write this inside a bright, noisy classroom in Hanoi, I know that crooked and tough as it is, this is the road where I should be. 


Work takes up the most of our lives. 

Even if we say - every Monday - that we hate our jobs and dislike working, we still go for these important reasons: money and the work itself - whether it is for us or for others. 

Work gives us a place, a space where we can serve, receive incentives, use our skills, and if we're lucky, evolve. 


There are parts of work we both hate and love.

Work is essential to living a rich life. Whether it's the work of being a mother, a gardener, an office employee - work gives us something to do with our time. But sometimes work demands more time it deserves. 

When that happens, other parts of our lives suffer. Often, it's our health and relationships. 

We get sick from lack of sleep, we stress about deadlines, and discontent grows. The breaking down of our relationships makes us physically sick. 

The longest running study of human happiness, directed by Robert Waldinger, shows how good relationships lead to long, happy lives.

 

Good relationships, not jobs. 



Final breath

The dying never say "I wish I got promoted to manager early in my career. I wish I got that award from work. I wish they gave me a higher salary increase 10 years ago."

Jobs may be essential to having a rich and colorful life, but the richness of life does not solely rely on work. 


This is the second regret off Bronnie Ware's book, Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Read about the first regret here:

Regret #1: I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself. Not the life others expected of me.

Latest blog post about what's happening and what I'm looking forward to. 


Odyssa

About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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