“No one says, “Wow, an entire bottle of gin in one night? You are an outstanding drinker.” But work 16 hours a day, and you’ll probably get a promotion.”

Arthur C. Brooks

I’ve come to appreciate Arthur C. Brooks’ writing, and his recent article in The Atlantic links excessive work to lowered mental health. I’ve never suffered from excessive work hours, but I have suffered from excessive work prioritization.

I distinctly remember my new boss in Alaska asking me how much leave I had on the books to prove a point about taking time to rest and be with family. My reply of having a negative leave balance surprised him, but I now realize that the other half of that story wasn’t told. I took time off…but I also took work with me. I thought about work at home. I checked my email on weekends. I texted things that could wait. I continued to be too accessible to those I trusted to run things in my absence.

I think I’ve improved, but I’m still far from perfect. I’m on my phone less, but challenging situations or relationships tend to stick with me after I leave work. Perhaps this is my way of continuing to work through it? Or, perhaps this is my way of distracting myself from facing other troubles?

A focus of mine in 2023 is to listen better. I should include listening to myself.

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