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Balance, perspective and the author Zelinski
Old 07-14-2012, 06:31 AM   #1
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Balance, perspective and the author Zelinski

I have seen the author Zelinski recommended and browsed his most recent book. I just ordered his older book: The Joy of Not Working to try and gain some perspective on just what the hell I'm doing with my life right now. I have been working 60 plus hours/week with little vacation for years now and part of this is my nature and part of this is part of my plan to reach financial goals to retire at or before 55 (5-6 year plan). My stress level (or lack of ability to handle stress) culminated this weekend in getting a refund from a delayed flight for a weekend away with a college buddy that my wife had planned. I couldn't stand the repeat delays and loss of control at the airport (I hate the airlines, don't mind flying, but hate the poor customer service, etc). So I came back home and now I'm wondering, just how messed up am I?
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:26 AM   #2
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Happiness is a job where you would still do it, enjoy it, even if you weren't paid. Balance is work on one hand, "getting away" on the other. Worry is something my mother taught me, she always told me about the man that said, "I alway's worried about not having shoes until I met the man that had no feet".

We all are a combination of many, many things. There are a lot of self help books but remember one thing; "if it is to be, it is up to me". Take your airport incident; what did you learn? If you're unhappy with your behavior, think through what actions you took and then say, "Next time I'll.................." and learn from the experience.

I grew up with depression era parents that knew how to argue and fight but loved each other very much. They didn't have the skills or knowledge that we have today. There were no self help books.

the really good news is you've taken the 1st step, you recognize what you're doing, you're asking for help, you're reading books.....all great but now you have to know that you're the one who can change what you're unhappy with.

Whenever an employee tells me they are sick, I send them home with the advice, "make this the best sick day you have ever had" So, make today the best day you have ever had. Set a goal to make everyone you meet smile, today. You'll feel great, tomorrow, set a goal to make everyone you meet laugh, you'll laugh with them.

After spending years making myself (part of the time) miserable, I get up each morning trying to do what I'm suggesting you try to do. Forgive me for all the advice, I'm just trying to share the core values I've developed to enjoy each day I have left in this wonderful life I've been given. I have my health, my family and enough money to enjoy shelter, travel and put food on the table for the rest of my life.

You may be a little messed up, but arent we all!!!!!
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:47 AM   #3
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Big E, after Jerome Len's fantastic post there isn't much left to say. You are not alone. Many of us have been there and managed to deal successfully with work - life issues. Instead of "messed up" I always thought "out of balance". Knowing your issues is half the battle.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:52 AM   #4
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Those hours are brutal, and seem to have become more common than not lately (unfortunately).

If/when you do get a day off on the weekends, do you look forward to it? Are you happy about that and can you think of things to do?

If so, I think that is an encouraging sign. In many ways, retirement is like an endless weekend. You can do what you want or need to do every day. It seems to me that perhaps the people who have the most trouble with retirement are those who get bored on the weekends and would go in to work on a day off, voluntarily.

I wouldn't worry too much about your reaction to the delays and lack of control at the airport. You are probably more exhausted from work than you imagine right now, and that can lead to impatience and short temper (especially when your rare time off is being wasted).
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Out of balance
Old 07-14-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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Out of balance

Jerome, MichaelB, and W2R, thank you so much for the words of support and advice. And Jerome I was soliciting advice because I'm not happy with my behavior and hoping I can learn from this, so all of your input is welcome. I am a rock at work, always calm and a problem solver, but I need some balance b/c clearly the stress is spilling over. I really like "out of balance" instead of "messed up". Again, thank you for taking the time to respond.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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BigE, sorry for the stress levels and the ruined getaway. But, take comfort in having that wife of yours. Planning a weekend getaway with your buddy for you? Give your lady a hug! Anytime me and my buddies try to do this we catch 3 kinds of hell from the wives and girlfriends.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post

Whenever an employee tells me they are sick, I send them home with the advice, "make this the best sick day you have ever had"
Wow, that's pretty bizarre. I don't think that's what I'd want to hear from my boss if I was sick.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:03 AM   #8
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I don't think that's what I'd want to hear from my boss if I was sick.
Ah, so you are the "Poor baby..." type?
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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Ah, so you are the "Poor baby..." type?
No, but that just seems odd, and wrong. If I was missing work to go to a funeral, would I want to hear "Have the best funeral ever"?
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BigE
I have seen the author Zelinski recommended and browsed his most recent book. I just ordered his older book: The Joy of Not Working to try and gain some perspective on just what the hell I'm doing with my life right now. I have been working 60 plus hours/week with little vacation for years now and part of this is my nature and part of this is part of my plan to reach financial goals to retire at or before 55 (5-6 year plan). My stress level (or lack of ability to handle stress) culminated this weekend in getting a refund from a delayed flight for a weekend away with a college buddy that my wife had planned. I couldn't stand the repeat delays and loss of control at the airport (I hate the airlines, don't mind flying, but hate the poor customer service, etc). So I came back home and now I'm wondering, just how messed up am I?
It sounds like you are suffering from burnout. Try to completely relax for the rest of your lost weekend, and do something romantic with DW. She had your best interests at heart when she set up the trip. When you are in a better frame of mind, think about reorganizing the way you work. Build in a week of vacation whenever it's available. You need downtime to renew. As Stephen Covey put it, sharpen the saw.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:45 AM   #11
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No, but that just seems odd, and wrong. If I was missing work to go to a funeral, would I want to hear "Have the best funeral ever"?
Let me tell you a story about "best funeral ever". When my Mom died many years, ago, I arrived at the funeral home to smiles and sounds of laughter.....initially, I was offended. My Godmother saw my frowns, came over to me and explained; My Moms family was remembering and celebrating all the good times they had with my Mom and asked, "should they stop?" So, I listened to all the good times and all the expressions of love for my Mom and found myself enjoying remembering all the good.

It's all in your point of view. I'd much rather smile than not, I'd much rather wish someone their best rather than their worst sick day ever.....I remember my worst sick day......I wouldn't wish it on anyone, much less myself.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:20 AM   #12
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Your choices aren't limited to wishing someone the best sick day or worst sick day, but I don't want to derail the thread any longer so I'll drop it.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:37 AM   #13
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BigE, again, sorry for getting off the topic. I agree with the above posts, that you've recognized the issue and that's the key to doing something about it. Make some time for yourself, and with your wife, and with your friends. I think it's great that your wife planned the trip for you with your buddy. Clearly she wants to help. Keep talking with her about other things you and she can do to help. Good luck keeping things in balance!
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:57 PM   #14
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BigE - I found The Joy of Not Working very encouraging and helpful and wish I had read it before ER instead of a year+ later, so I hope you enjoy it.

It sounds as though 5-6 more years of your current situation will take a toll on you. One of the tough things for me was realizing that I really wasn't indispensable in my job - any of them. That was a real hit to my ego at first, but the benefit was that I did some things that would have appalled myself a few years earlier - like leave the office at 2pm to go shopping, or take a sick day when I probably could have dragged my sorry butt into the office. I only regret I didn't do more of that sooner, as I was well past the point of no return to burnout when I finally came to my senses.

I'm still a Type A control freak, but several degrees less so than when I was w*rking. Good luck!
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:54 AM   #15
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Great thread, especially #2 (jerome len). You're not 'messed up,' you're at a point where you need to change something(s). Like others have said, most if not all of us have been there at least once and it's unlikely it'll get better unless you act. But take your time deciding what to do so you remain in control of the outcome and keep your options under your control - don't do anything rash (not that you would). In the meantime, take heart in knowing you can and will make things better in your good time - I was encouraged by knowing same at those points (fortunately late in my career). Zelinski is good content (though not great writing), I have two of his books. You can make things better...
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:59 AM   #16
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Jerome, You are a wise man and I personally enjoy reading your posts.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:40 AM   #17
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Your choices aren't limited to wishing someone the best sick day or worst sick day, but I don't want to derail the thread any longer so I'll drop it.
I don't think your comment is a total derail but is relevant to the original posters description of the unbalanced life he is living.

I took the jerome len "good sick day" comment to be about leaving work behind, cutting yourself some slack, and enjoying the day as much as possible because you are not at work.

People like the original poster will feel guilty about taking the day off even if they are sick. The advice I heard was to be sure to give yourself permission to go home and relax, take care of your body, and enjoy the day as much as possible without being concerned about work.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:39 PM   #18
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BigE, I feel your frustration and dilemma. I responded similarly to situations like you did recently, and I can tell you that you are at the point of burnout where the stress is being internalized and will affect you physiologically. Working towards ER at breakneck speed without some balance in your psyche and life will make ER a journey of recovering from stress-induced and internalized illness if you're not careful. As committed as you are to ER, begin to find some peace and balance in your life now.

I've found that some mindfulness exercises and training (e.g. meditation, etc) really helps me focus back on the moment at hand as well as processing stress much more effectively in the face of high pressure work/life demands. I HIGHLY recommend any books by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Specifically, Full Catastrophe Living and Coming To Our Senses.

Take care of yourself now so you can enjoy ER and all that you've worked so hard to accomplish.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:37 AM   #19
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BigE, I feel your frustration and dilemma. I responded similarly to situations like you did recently, and I can tell you that you are at the point of burnout where the stress is being internalized and will affect you physiologically.
Thank you mistershankly. I had a very relaxing weekend with the family (the first in a long time), spent time with both my girls and had some good conversations with my wife about getting some balance. Also, had a long, really nice talk with my college buddy (the one I shafted by not getting on the plane) and he is very supportive. Within the last two years we have built another house and I have taken only two vacation days... and that really is excessive. I'll have to check out the Kabat Zinn author. Thanks again.
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