“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were; you wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be – other days, new days, days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older; we just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.” – The Wonder Years
Like many, I spend this past weekend relaxing and enjoying my Monday off. I headed down the shore with my two of my best friends to dance the night away. We watched the sun come up, slept for a couple of hours then ventured to the beach. Some would say we took it a little too far, but I call it making memories. However, we paid for our fun yesterday at work.
The last year has been filled with so many changes that haven’t been experienced by everyone in my group of friends. A handful of us are employed, commute to work and spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer. Others are in graduate school; some are living on their own and others are still in school. All of our lives are different. At times, it doesn’t feel like all we do is work and yearn for the good old college days.
One thing I’ve learned in working during the last six months is that everyone deserves a work-life balance. Too often, you hear that term used with working parents and not with newly employed young adults. One way I’ve gotten a handle on this real-world thing is by making sure I balance everything in my life. The work-life balance is important for young adults because it:
- Prevents burnout: As new faces in the workplace, most of us are eager to prove ourselves and will take on multiple assignments in order to do so. While this is admirable, it isn’t always realistic.
- Helps our friendships: See the quote above! My friends and I had a year of adjustments with misunderstandings about schedules, budgets and attitudes. We are all working so hard we tend to forget about our friendships…and that each of us is struggling with the adjustment. The frustration of opposite schedules and long-distance relationships often proves to be a challenge. BUT, we all are learning to balance and keep one another in check.
- Improves the quality of our work: This speaks for itself. Working on a project at the 20th hour isn’t good for anyone involved and certainly won’t be your best work.
- Puts the focus on our well-being: Work is important but so is our health. In college, your health is typically thrown out the window. Being conscious of the work-life balance allows for focusing on balance in all forms like what you’re eating and how often you’re working out.
- Shows our parents we can do: Mom and Dad need to realize the work-life balance is a real thing now that their babies are adults. They’ll have to adjust too!
The team members I work with often help me achieve a better work-life balance. My friends and family also keep everything in perspective too. This weekend showed me that it is perfectly fine to take a much-needed break and enjoy time with my friends. I plan to focus more on the work-life balance and hope you do too!