burnout, work, and life
What’s pushing you to work late on a Friday night? When you’re basking in the glow of a computer screen, fingers tap away, what’s your driving force? Is it the pursuit of success? The desire to make something of yourself? The dream of a a bank account full of cash to prove your worth?
Something is driving each and every one of us. Have you stopped to figure it out? What are you really working for, if you were brutally honest with yourself?
Simply pause for a moment. Imagine yourself at age 75, looking back at your life on the path you’ve set yourself on. Were the things you put the most effort and time into worth it? Or did you put off important things until the next project, next year, next milestone one time too many?
Don’t let your life slip away into the pixels, functions, Dribbble shots, “portfolio” projects, side hustles, get rich plans, or just-one-more-startup-I-swear-this-one-will-have-an-exit. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t brag. Don’t brag about being humble. That’s not humility. Do the work to support your family. Do the work if you love it. Do the work to help others. Do enough, well enough, focused enough, so you don’t have to do more.
If you’re working to prove something, to show off, to attain some financial milestone that you know will only be replaced with another one even harder to reach, please stop. Deep down you know it’s not worth the sacrifice. Work for something that matters. It’s okay to not make a 6-figure income, to live in a townhouse, to drive an old used car with a dent in the bumper. It’s okay to code on a 6 year old Macbook, use an iPhone 4S, to not have a granite counter top, or be able to afford a standing desk. These things are fine, but they’re not goals. They’re just things. Things that will break and get replaced time and time again.
Work to live. Don’t live to work. This isn’t new advice, you’ve probably heard it before. I just hope it reaches you when you need to hear it most. I felt I needed to share this now for just one person out there who is going to read it. I don’t know who you are, but I have that nagging feeling at the back my head I can’t ignore. “Write it Jack. Just write it.”
I took time out of my Sunday night for you, whoever you are. This message is for you. Change your trajectory before it’s too late.