Amid the Covid crafting, unending unemployment, and child care nightmares your friends and family are plastering on social media, some of us haven’t taken advantage of a quarantine break. And not because we’ve had a mental breakdown because of the stress we’re all under.
Some of us simply haven’t had a break. We’re working the week that never ends – it just goes on and on my friends. We haven’t forgotten what day it is because we haven’t needed to keep a schedule. We’ve forgotten because our schedule hasn’t let up.
We’re not talking about working 7 days each week for a few months, but increased work demands which have created similar non-work demands in a world where all of your interactions look the same. You have a Google Meet with your team at work on Friday, and a Zoom meeting with your friends on Saturday. You worked 10 hour days Monday – Friday because you’re in one of those industries which got busier in the face of the pandemic – but on the weekend you’re still glued to your computer, upskilling and job hunting on the weekend because that same industry is clearly in a bubble which is sure to burst once your clients’ lack of revenue turns into your company’s lack of revenue.
And unlike your friend Kevin, you may not be relying on unemployment checks to cover your bills, but you also don’t have an extra 40 hours out of your week to invest in preparing to pivot your career.
You know it could be worse. You are grateful you’re one of the lucky ones to have had nothing worse than a freeze placed on your merit increase.
But that gratitude doesn’t make your week any less exhausting. You struggle with guilt when you decide to park your seat in your living room to watch some baseball on TV when you know you should be customizing a cover letter or working through a Udemy course or prepping for PMP certification.
You want someone to tell you it gets better, or that the sacrifices and the hustle are worth it.
The truth is – no one can tell you that, because even the experts have proven they don’t know.
What you need to hear, is that you can do this. You deserve to watch that MLB, to have beer out on the deck, to go for a hike on a local trail. But you’re not going to spend all day doing that – no matter how much you want to. You are going to eat some vegetables, get some exercise (15 minutes will do – you know you’re busy), put down your phone and get some real sleep – and you are going to keep hustling.
The key is to make time to bounce back. You’re not sprinting. This is a marathon. And it’s a marathon you didn’t train for and which doesn’t have enough water stations. Don’t try to come in first – it’s not worth the effort. Let some other over achiever risk hospitalization over that nonsense. But finish. Walk. Crawl. Take a break on a park bench along the way. But don’t give up. For better or worse you’ll get through this. Just don’t give up.