Dedicated. Focused. Driven. Committed.
They’re all positive adjectives that you wouldn’t mind having associated with your professional reputation—nobody can blame you there. However, is there such a thing as being a little too dedicated to your career?
Yes, as a matter of fact there is. While it’s understandable—and even commendable— that you want to give your career everything you’ve got, that doesn’t mean you should allow it to consume your entire life.
Do those words hit a little too close to home? Well, here are six signs that you’re giving just a little too much to your current gig. Believe me—when people say you should give something your all, they don’t actually mean you should give everything.
1. When There’s No Such Thing as Free Time
You spend seemingly every waking moment in the office. And, when you do finally manage to escape, you use those precious hours to compulsively refresh your work email. And, the thought of taking a vacation? Just forget about it. The effort and resulting stress involved in being proactive with your workload would completely negate the point of your time away.
If your life seems totally void of any downtime you can use to recharge and relax, that’s a huge indicator that you should pull back the reins a little bit and find a little more balance. If your friends can’t even remember what you look like, you know you’ve been chained to your desk a little too long.
2. When You’re Carrying the Entire Load
Here’s the thing about being a hustler and a go-getter—the lazy people in your office can spot you from a mile away. And, as soon as you prove you’re willing to scoop up that extra work and run with it, you’re going to find yourself with more and more added to your plate.
When you think about your current work situation, are you carrying your entire team and department on your back? If you’re feverishly nodding yes right now, it’s probably time you reevaluate, speak up, and command some fair treatment. While it’s good to be a team player, you definitely don’t want to turn into a doormat.
3. When All of Your Goals Are Career-Related
You’re sitting at happy hour with your close friends, when somebody poses the question of where you all see yourselves 10 years from now. Your pals all mention their careers—but they also include families, travel, and new experiences they’d love to have.
You? Well, you’re so zoned in on that corner office, a big promotion, and the inevitable salary increase, that you can’t even be bothered to think of anything else.
Yes, having lofty career goals is definitely a great thing. But, it’s important to remember that your job isn’t your life—it’s really just one piece of the puzzle. So, don’t let it make up the entirety of the picture.
4. When You Can’t Shut Your Mind Off
Your head hits the pillow at night, and you try your very best to get some quality sleep. But, no matter how hard you try, you simply can’t turn off your thoughts. Your mind keeps wandering to that meeting with your boss, that big report that’s due next week, or that company event that’s quickly approaching.
We all have these moments every once in a while—they’re totally natural, particularly when things are stressful in the office. However, if you find yourself in this situation night after night, it’s a sign that you need to step back a little bit. Trust me—no amount of sheep-counting or meditation exercises will help you doze off when you’re obsessing over the perfect font choice for that proposal.
5. When You Can’t Talk About Anything Else
It doesn’t matter if it’s dinner with your friends, a catch-up phone call with your mom, or a quick conversation with your next-door neighbor—whenever you open your mouth to speak, a job update, office horror story, or work-related progress report tumbles right out of your mouth.
Despite how badly you want to, you can’t seem to talk about anything besides work. Well, that’s an eye-opening (and somewhat humiliating) reminder that your career is beginning to overwhelm your entire life. So, keep yourself in check and start shifting the conversations—even if it just means asking a lot of questions.
Believe me, your loved ones will likely welcome the break from hearing about your latest job happenings.
6. When it Impacts Your Entire Attitude
Our careers make up a significant portion of our lives—there’s really no denying that. But, it’s important to remember that everybody still has interests, passions, and entire identities outside the four walls of the office. You job shouldn’t dictate how you feel 100% of the time.
However, if you’re letting your career hijack your entire life, it becomes difficult to leave work in the office. Pretty soon, your job is impacting your overall outlook and coloring your perception of things that aren’t even remotely work-related.
Take it from somebody who’s been there. You know your career is consuming way more than its fair share when a bad day at work quickly snowballs into you snapping at your significant other for no reason and crying in your car in the grocery store parking lot—multiple times per week.
Devoting yourself to your career is admirable—but only as long as you don’t cross a line and let it overpower the entire rest of your life. If you recognize any of these signs and symptoms in your own current situation? Well, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities.
Or, take a much-needed vacation—you deserve it.
OR, MAYBE YOU NEED A BETTER JOB
Good thing we know tons of job openings you can apply to today.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author