How do I know if I'm working too much?
March 16, 2010 1:56 PM Subscribe
Looking for advice or rules of thumb on how better to strike a good work/life balance with the risk factor that I actually love my work and feel very possessive toward it. Further, I work for a small company and I understand that my work is integral to its future. I understand that it is probably not going to be possible for me to wrap it up everyday at 5 pm and forget about work the next day until 9 am, and maybe I don’t even want to. However, I don't need to work 20 hour days or weekends, and I'm looking for thoughts from others in the same situation, and rules of thumb as to how to keep a good balance.
I work for a small biotech company that has been around for several years – we have some good IP and could be close to launching the product bigtime, but there are still some things to work out, so it may not so close as it appears. For now, we live on contract research work for larger companies. This contract work is tied in to launching our IP product. The company is not overflowing with money, but most of the time things seem alright; we have what we need to work with, good benefits, and ‘treats’ like out-to-dinner bonuses and free snacks in the breakroom. I also feel that we are paid significantly more than others in our positions.
I am one of five or six scientists that are all relatively equal in seniority and responsibility, but we do have different specialties and expertise due to our backgrounds. I would say we are all very well-trained, talented and intelligent annnnnd that each of us has some weaknesses, myself included. We are not some sort of dream team.
The rest of the team is really good at the 9-5 schedule. I however find myself working a lot of irregular hours. Part of it is the specialty of the science that I do (and the others do not). Certain assays just take ten hours to complete and cannot fit into an 8 hour day. I try to compensate by flexing with short days, but I actually just find that confusing sometimes. And part of the long hours is a compulsion to just get things done the right way. I do not see this sort of 'get-it-right' always happening with the rest of the team. I have not lost the possessiveness over my projects that I remember having in grad school (I am a year out of my degree). Sometimes, I think that I am more careful than my coworkers or even our boss about the level of science going on. I feel compelled to get the project done and done right because I understand how much of our future depends on it.
I do worry though that another part of it is an irrational fear that I am not doing enough, a perfectionist sort of thing where I have to get everything right or else it will not be good enough. As a student, that actually didn't seem so bad to me -- it *was* my project - if I wanted it perfect, it was at least mine. But this isn't my project, and I'm not getting paid more than everybody else to stay and work all evening while everyone else is home with their families.
How do you know when you're doing more than your share, when you're not all necessarily doing exactly the same thing?
(anonymous for reasons of wanting to keep my job and good relations with my coworkers)