The company I work for talks a lot about energy-building and energy-draining activities. Truthfully, I spend a significant amount of time working on energy-draining activities. I didn’t know they would be energy-draining until I tried them. I didn’t realize it mattered. Prior to this position, I didn’t even know about the concept of energy building/draining activities, simply because pretty much every job I’ve had has been draining. And I didn’t realize it.
You don’t know what you don’t know, right?
My CEO is very into this whole topic, and I have had the pleasure of editing and publishing a small handful of blog posts about this… I find it quite hilarious that his writing speaks to me on such a personal level, so much so to the point where his philosophy has convinced me that I’m doing the wrong thing for myself by working for him. He thinks everyone should be an entrepreneur… I never quite saw myself as having an entrepreneurial spirit (but here I am, building a social media consulting side-gig).
When searching for a job last summer, I realized that I MUST have creativity in my day. This is a non-negotiable, absolute sticking point for me. There are some opportunities to flex my creative muscles in my current role, but working for a small company means we all must wear many hats. The consequence of this means I’m frequently pulled away from the creative work to do scheduling and travel arrangements. These happen to be things I’m good at, but I don’t thrive on this stuff. I find it insufferably boring, and not very challenging. Not to mention, not even remotely creative. A piece of me dies every time I’m asked to book a flight.
Don’t get me wrong… I understand that this is what my job is. I took a position with this company (mostly) understanding the limits for creativity. I’m that person who is constantly struggling between what seem to be the only two options:
1. Do the boring job, and save the fun for my personal life; or
2. Do something I’m passionate about, and know that it might take over my personal life.
Does it really have to be this black and white? I refuse to believe that it does. What’s stopping me, or anyone else for that matter, from having a job that they’re passionate about, while also having room for a rich personal life?
Right now, the job I have is so energy-draining that I have a hard time fitting fun stuff into my personal life… simply because I’m so darn tired. I have to get up at 4:30am to make it to a class at the gym at 5:15am so that I can get my fitness on before driving an hour to work. I’m at the office for 9-10 hours, and then drive an hour to get home. On those days, I get in the door and almost instantly crash face-first into my pillow. I often have nothing left in me by the end of the day, which means other activities that I would LOVE to do (dance classes, reading a book, education, networking, social opportunities, yoga, walking, etc) are, more often than not, pushed off to weekends. Then my weekends are insanity… and that’s just no good.
I value down time. I need it to recharge my batteries. These days, down time usually means sitting on the couch in a dark room, scrolling through Instagram, and marveling at how the ads are becoming more tailored to my interests as I carefully curate what I want to see in my feed (which happens to be 70% outdoorsy, 20% motivational/fun, and 10% friends). Or making calculated changes to my LinkedIn profile to reflect where I’d rather put my energy. Recently, I’ve been using my down time to listen to videos to get my Inbound Marketing certification from HubSpot and my Social Media Marketing certification from HootSuite. Or blogging… you catch my drift.
The moral of this story is… Are you investing your energy in the world you’re in? Or are you investing it in the world you want?
My CEO wrote that on one of our whiteboards recently…