Rediscovering balance

N.B. This post was migrated from to on 18/04/2019

It's been a while since I posted here - arguably too long. I unfortunately got drawn into my work a little too much, and ended up having time for little else. However, I'm now emerging from the other side - I'm now leaving my job, after less time than intended (and under less than ideal conditions), but nevertheless I'll now have time to write again - small victories!

Establishing balance

Although I've handed in my resignation and am serving out my notice period, I don't actually have a new role to go to yet. This is uncharted territory for me - I've always had a fear of unemployment, and despite having a considerable bank of savings, the thought of quitting a job without having another lined up quite frankly terrified me. It still does, to a degree, but I felt that my life had become dominated by work to an unhealthy degree, and it was time to enforce some balance.

I've spent the entirety of my working career defined by my work - I've been a software engineer, a data engineer, a whatever - but that has been the core of who I am as a person, despite all the other facets of my personality. I'm lucky in that I love what I do, and have had the good fortune to spend a great deal of my life excited by work, and by what I do whilst there. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that (loving what you do for a living), but I let it define me, which can become dangerous. When you work for another person/another organisation, they are ultimately in control of your working environment. If you're super invested in that environment, if it all goes sideways (as work environments often can, in a plethora of ways), then suddenly your main source of happiness is removed by someone else. This can leave you feeling powerless, frustrated, and it can feel really hurtful.

The only real way to escape that is to maintain more balance - define yourself not just as what you do at work, but what you do outside the office - be that music, sports, family, friends, hobbies, you name it. Working for somewhere with greater autonomy and self-management can also help, but ultimately separating 'work-you' from the rest of your identity is the only sure-fire way to ensure that workplace changes won't end up dominating your life.

That's the theory anyhow - hopefully the next few months will let me test this out. If I'm still writing here, and am happy despite my job (or lack thereof, depending on the job hunt), then maybe that's a good sign :)