I’ve become increasingly aware of the amount of time I will put into any and all of my work, no matter how much I get paid (if I get paid for it at all). Of course, it’s nothing new. Not too long ago, I jumped at any chance to work in anything and everything for little to no compensation. Did I mind? Absolutely not. Do I regret it? Not even a little. But after too many hours of sweat, tears and man power, it came to a point in which I was about to lose my mind out of pure exhaustion. Sound familiar? I’m sure. Essentially all of the people I’ve ever worked with put in at least 1.5x the amount of time they get paid for. But this isn’t industry specific, of course, which probably isn’t the least obviously thing in the world.
I used to work tons of freelance hours for people who either didn’t pay me or weren’t paying me enough or that I never saw the money for. It didn’t bother me at the time and it sure as hell didn’t bother me now but there’s a certain point that you reach where you realize that you must know your worth. I used to get scolded by a friend of mine who was tired of watching me stay up all night getting things done for people who weren’t paying me. Now, in this particular instance, it definitely wasn’t healthy and I definitely had to establish working hours were for those who wanted my time. I didn’t mind it at the time but I look back at myself with my currently deteriorating bone structure (exaggeration) and my inability to be up past 10 and coherent and I’m considering the idea that it was not the best thing. Yet, I still do it today. Maybe I won’t always get paid for my extra time and effort and maybe I will. But in a world where time is money and money is food and rent, you get to the part where you realize you can’t work that way forever, or at least not as long as you would like.
What I’m not quite sure of — and I supposed what I’d like some thoughts on — is the reason why we do it? Is it our humanly obsession to get it as perfectly perfect as possible, if possible? The ever-growing pile of stuff on our desks? The expectations for more things to get done with smaller and smaller deadlines? The constant need to prove something to someone – anyone?
Surely, these are my eternally rambling thoughts…but how else do I get anything done?