As an intern at the very start of my career, employers assumed I would say yes to any overtime thrown my way and that I would always count myself in for extra work. Living and working in the city, it’s easy to get caught up in the overworking lifestyle. Staying late is the complete norm. Dinner plans are always delayed to accommodate my friends busy working schedules and even then everyone still turns up late.
Research from Beauty Company Blow LTD has even revealed that women between the ages of 22 – 29 (the ‘millennial’ generation) clocked up an extra 18 typical working days more than the rest of the UK’s female workforce. It’s no wonder I’ve found myself reluctant to comply with the expectations.
The city is full of competition; everyone wants to be the best. We are desperate to impress, but at what cost?
The number of women experiencing the strain of balancing a career and a family is 50% higher than the number of men. Essentially as women are keen to dominate in every aspect of our lives, we are damaging our wellbeing by doing so. Surrounded by people staying late, taking their laptops home to continue their work and being glued to their emails, it’s a struggle not to give into the demands.
On the one hand, I am desperate to prove myself and work as many hours as the others around me. On the other, I don’t want to fall out of love with work before I’ve even properly started; there’s no denying it’s hard to find a balance between the two. Often I find myself indulged in a piece of work, unable to resist staying late to finish it. But I have quickly learned that once you start, it becomes an expectation for you to carry on.
I’ve realized it’s best to set boundaries. There’s no way to avoid having to work a little extra now and then, but finding a balance between your job and the rest of your life will make your work far better in the long run.
It’s certainly not easy, but maybe one day if we are lucky we will have Denmark’s ideal work-life balance, where staying late is a sign of being unorganized, not something that’s impressive.
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