Balancing personal life, career poses biggest challenge
April 27, 2007
Like many college students this time of year I’ve become increasingly overwhelmed as the semester, and even the year have worn on.
In years past if you would have forced me to classify myself I would have honestly told you I was a classic underachiever/slacker who typically tried to shuck as much responsibility as I could and get by doing the bare minimum.
I came into this year vowing to change my slacker ways, and I would say that this year has been nothing short of a resounding success in terms of achieving that goal. But it has come with a heavy price. I’m sure my roommates, family, friends and co-workers have noticed the difference. And now, I finally realized it myself. I’ve become a callous uncaring asshole.
I should have seen the writing on the wall.
When I took on a weekend overnight job at KARE-11 I knew it would be difficult to balance my schoolwork, duties at the Student Voice and sanity over the last few weeks of school. I was basically giving up my social life to take advantage of a great opportunity. What I didn’t realize I would be giving up was my ability to call myself a decent human being.
Just this past week I snapped on my roommates for keeping me awake too late. I gave one of them an overblown guilt trip for the past two days, a practice that I consider the pinnacle of selfishness. I’m just thankful I haven’t seen my other roommate enough since then to act like a 210-pound three-year-old.
I’ve also been short-tempered and extra cynical with many of my good friends and family members. In the past I’ve consider this completely inexcusable.
I didn’t want this to happen, but in the course of the events that I call my life, I have apparently stretched myself too thin and the asshole you see before you is the result. I let personal goals outweigh what I know to be really important in my life, my friends and family.
So what’s the lesson to be learned here? Well I could continue down my current path of self-centered, tyrannical, douchebaggerey; or I can cut back a little on the overachieving, and make a concerted effort to be a better person and risk passing up on career-building opportunities. Another thing to remember here is that our capitalistic society seems to encourage individuals sacrificing their ability to be good people for increased productivity.
Like it or not, we are all faced with this type of choice at some point in our lives. You can’t just keep heaping more and more responsibility on yourself without paying some type of price. Everyone has a threshold. The key is figuring out what that point is. I know that some people can cope better with the increased stress load than others, but like it or not you too have a breaking point, and at some point you will be confronted with it.
Now you can just choose the completely self-fulfilling path, take on too much responsibility, and basically alienate every human being you come in contact with. Or, you can find a nice balance in your life and take the road that will likely be less glamorous.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t attempt to take on extra responsibility, I’m just saying everyone needs to be aware that the responsibility you take on may come at a price.
Nick Sortedahl is a student at UW-River Falls.