Duty calls. You answer. There’s no OFF switch in the military for the most part. Yes, you might get to go on Leave for a time, but when it’s time to carry out the mission you go.
Those in uniform often miss out on many of life’s important milestones – especially during a deployment. The birth of a child, the first recital, the important sporting event, the play or concert or academic honor might be experienced through video or pictures for some.
What about your life after military service? Do you carry this “all work, no play” mentality with you as a civilian? Do you find yourself too busy to enjoy an occasional special moment in the lives of those you care about due to working all the time? Is the pull of work keeping you disengaged from the things you might enjoy or hoped to do?
A successful Military-to-Civilian career transition should include consideration of how to improve your work/life balance. Do you really need to run at the same pace you did while in uniform? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the “Op Tempo” you experienced in the military will not be as rapid as your civilian life. Yes, civilian life has its own set of stresses, pressures, and challenges. You will work hard. You will face obstacles that you can overcome. But, you have been accustomed to going all out in the military. You can work for a long time without thinking about it. You know what it’s like to not only maintain your regular job, but assume numerous additional duties. You know what it’s like NOT to punch a clock. And so, you keep pushing and pushing the envelope day in and day out as a civilian. Soon, you reach the point of near burnout and wonder what’s happening.
Does this describe you?
If it does, the question to ask is “Why?”
Maybe it’s time for you to strive toward more work/life balance.
Here’s a list of things you might consider in your plans to regain a better work/life balance:
- Check your priorities at the workplace and make sure you’re handling your work in the most effective and efficient way possible.
- Consider taking a time management courses in order to free up some hours for non-work activities.
- Ask your Employer about modifying your work schedule so you can complete your work in time to be able to attend important events in your life. Remember, you only live once!
- Use your vacation days. That’s what they’re for! Recharge those physical & mental batteries!
- Ask a trusted Friend or Family Member to hold you accountable for maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Check in often enough to share your progress with them.
- Examine your routine to see if you’re over-committing yourself. Cut out the activities that steal time away from things you truly need to participate in.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle and consult a Doctor if your work/life balance could be causing any health issues. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
I hope this starts a dialogue between you and those you care about in an effort to improve your work/life balance.
Please comment on your experiences in identifying your lack (or ability to maintain a high level) of work/life balance and what you did as a result.