A good friend of mine said something very interesting the other day. She said that people just don’t know when it’s enough. She was talking about exhaustion and how someone she knew was on the brink of burnout and had actually already approached her boss to say that if she takes on any more she will break. My friend’s comment was that she, in reality, wasn’t on the brink of exhaustion anymore, she was already beyond that. You don’t generally go to your boss before you have too much to handle. Because the threshold to bring it up at work is so high, you only approach someone after it’s gone too far.
She sees things very clearly sometimes, my friend; I admire her for that, and this time I think she really hit the nail on its head. As a society, we really don’t know when enough is enough. We kind of go overboard with most things, whether it’s consumerism, depleting our planet of its natural resources, health trends, makeovers, parenting, or just simply work. How do you know at work when you’ve done enough? When you’re good enough? Your employer will take whatever he or she can get and you as an individual are responsible to draw the line. But in this age of major and multidimensional insecurity, how do you know you’ve done enough to stay safe and stay in the game? With an employer who is always asking for more it’s impossible to know.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with a colleague a while back. He was recounting an interview he had seen with Rod Stewart, I think it was, or someone equally rich and famous anyway. And Rod was talking about how he wakes up every morning, thinking, “Am I comfortable yet?” And he’s a multimillionaire! This sounds pretty idiotic, but it kind of epitomizes the fear of disposability we suffer from that I wrote about last week. Even (or especially?) a talented, rich, and famous rock star doesn’t feel comfortable with the fleeting nature of success and security. The fact is, in this day and age things can change very fast.
So how can we possibly know when enough is enough if we don’t feel secure or comfortable in our jobs? When we constantly try to live up to unrealistic expectations?
Well, that’s a rhetorical question. In the meantime I’m going to try to recognize when enough is enough in my life, and actually slow down enough to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends. I’m going to take some time off from my blog and will be back after the New Year. Until then Happy Holidays and all the best for 2016!