Tom made his choice early on. He accepted the challenge to make work his life and life his work. He bought into reaping the benefits he thought he wanted, rewards he was sure would result from hard work and dedication: power, respect, money, and achievement. As advancements came his way, along with greater responsibility, the pressure to produce even more only increased.
He stayed at the office well into the evening each day, spent hundreds of hours on airplanes each year — always working madly on his laptop computer, of course — entertained clients over dinner, and took at least two full briefcases home each weekend.
Even when physically present at the family dinner table, his mind was still in the office, thinking of the current project, the next project, or past projects. When he’d go on vacations with his family, Tom would pack an extra box or two of business reports, books, and magazines. He never got to all of them but he was content to know that his security blankets were not far away.
This obsession with work was destroying Tom’s relationship with his wife and children but that didn’t seem to matter much to Tom, because he continued to get reinforcement for his yeoman efforts from his boss and colleagues.
He didn’t realize it at the time, but Tom’s success in climbing to a top executive position with his company was achieved at the expense of his personal life.
Do you relate to Tom?
You may have been on one end of the spectrum or the other. You may even now be so preoccuped with business success, travel, and the next deal that you are forgetting what may be most important in your life. Or you may be the one at home who wonders if your husband or wife will ever see the need for the kind of relationship you are eager to share.
The following questions can help you recognize if you are creating and maintaining healthy relationships:
Am I able to slow down?
Am I looking at the bigger picture?
Am I equating work with my worth?
Do I take breaks during the day to do something besides work?
If your answers to these questions are generally no, it may be wise to share your concerns and observations with a friend, your pastor, or a professional counselor.
SOURCE: Chapter 9 “Living Right-Side Up in an Upside-Down World” in How to De-Stress Your Life by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.
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