Tuesday, February 02, 2010

repeating a cycle

I rarely blog about work, and this is only indirectly about work. Mostly it is about a recurring pattern in my life, and what that means.

When I took my current position, it was mostly to achieve a better work/life balance. I work at a university, and the standard work week in my grade is 37.5 hours a week. The job also came with stellar benefits, including tuition for me, and eventually, tuition for our son. This is invaluable, as I am not much of a saver, and I want college to be something that our son doesn't have to worry about.

So, I took a job that was not an upward move. It was actually a step or two backward. Something I could do during the day, get decently compensated for, and leave at the door when I went home.

But. Here's where the recurring pattern rears its ugly head. Whenever I take a job, it starts growing and growing and growing. I end up with major deadlines, big responsibilities, begin working more and more hours. I end up as a mission critical piece of the business. It gets harder to take time off, harder to juggle work and life. Every time.

I am no rocket scientist, but when a pattern recurs with regularity in your life, you have to start looking at yourself as the cause. Its like women who keep dating jerks. One jerk is an accident, two jerks is unfortunate, three jerks is YOU. So here I am, again in a bigger boat than I left shore with. Part of my pattern is to change jobs once I have turned my nice comfy job into a nightmare. I can't jump ship this time. I have that tuition grant coming up, and we need it for our kid. I like the other benefits. And the pattern will just repeat somewhere else, until I figure out why. Why do I do this every time? What need am I meeting? What is it about me that causes the pattern?

I sometimes feel like Boxer in Animal Farm. For every need, I just say "I will work harder" and add another task to my plate. And you know how he ended up, with a trip to the glue factory....

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