Why what you do after work matters as much as what you do at work

  April 27, 2017

Do you have hobbies? Do you make regular plans to do something fun after work? Or are you just 'too tired' to do anything once you get home? For a lot of people option three is the standout winner. So many people find their jobs so stressful and energy draining that once they get home, it's all they can manage to eat some food and put the TV on. Now we're not saying this isn't a valid way to spend your time if that's what you want to do, but if you daydream about taking up a new hobby, spending time with friends, or going to glamorous events after work, but never quite get there because you're too tired, then you've got a problem. 'But that's what the weekend is for' we hear you cry. But a lot of people save these extravaganzas for the weekend, and are so busy catching up on their wish list, that by the time Monday rolls back around, they are still just as knackered as they were on Friday, because it's all crammed into one go.

The difficulty is that for so many of us, work is the main focus of our lives; it's where we spend most of our time, it's what we tend to talk and think about most when we're not there, and it's what connects us to others quite often. So work is pretty damn important, it gives us a sense of belonging and helps identify who we are. But it's not who we are. Just because you're a project manager or financial adviser at work, doesn't mean that's who you are outside of work, and if you never spend time doing extra-curricular activities that you want to do, it's easy to forget this. You lose your sense of self, and just become the work version. In an ideal world you'll be able to find a job where the work 'you' and the outside of work 'you' are pretty compatible (which is precisely what we aim to facilitate at Happy Work). But if you haven't reached this point yet, then not having anything to connect with outside of the workplace can really start to damage who you are.

If you view yourself as adventurous, daring and energetic outside of work, but never get to actually be any of those things, then this is going to have an impact on how you view yourself, and it'll start knocking your self-esteem. Just because you happen to work in an office you might start to think of yourself as boring, because you can't find a way to prove the opposite is true. But this isn't who you are, and aside from using Happy Work to try and find a role where you can actually be you, the best remedy for this dislocation of who you are at work versus who you want to be, is to do the things you want to do when you're not at work. Take up that hobby, and if you really can't do it because it's just not practical, then at least read about it when you get home from work, to keep your head in the game.