I Don’t Want to Work That Hard

This week’s epiphany is brought to you by your childhood…aren’t they all? I am continually amazed at how even though I’m 44, I’m still allowing the 5 or 10 or 15 year old in me to run my life. I have an adult life with adult responsibilities and a 10 year old is running the show. Fantastic! Read the sarcasm here. I guess it’s hardly a surprise I’m not getting what I say I want.

I have always considered myself a hard worker. I’m proud of that. There were times during my marriage when my ex-husband would tell me I’m lazy. Probably because he knew it would piss me off. And it did. Lazy is a hot button for me. I am NOT lazy! Wow…good thing I’m not bugged by that. More sarcasm.

I know where that comes from. That drive to work hard; to not be lazy. My dad is an exceptionally hard worker. I could go so far as to say he’s a workaholic. But I guess that’s subjective since he probably wouldn’t describe himself that way. Honestly, I think he really likes working. I don’t think he can really grasp why people would do anything else when they could be working. He would rather work than do almost anything, including go on vacation. That’s his thing. And, at almost 70, I don’t think he’s likely to change.

I’m not saying working hard is a bad thing. It’s not. But I think it’s important to be aware of the motivation behind working hard. Let me be honest…I don’t work hard because I love working. I work hard, and this is the kicker, because at 44 I’m still trying to prove to my dad I’m good enough. You’d think after all this time I’d be tired of that…and I am. But I keep doing it. Old habits die hard.

The whole thing is really pretty silly when I step back and look at it objectively. For one thing, my dad has no idea how much I do or do not work. We’ve never talked about it. I don’t even think he knows what I do for a living. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really give it any thought. He’s far too busy working to think about anything else, really. But the 10 year old in me is still choosing jobs where hard work is expected of me so I can show my dad I’m worthy of his love.

I was in my last job for over 11 years. And there were many times when there was more work than could ever get done. I worked a lot. More than I liked. I felt like I had to, to keep my head above water. At least that’s what I told myself. I never felt like I belonged in that job…. I was like a fish swimming up stream. I had to force myself to go to work every day. I hated it. There was a time I had a complete breakdown and had to take a leave from work. But when the leave was over, I went back to the same job. And I kept pushing myself. Crazy, I know.

In December I took a new job. I was so excited…so proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone. I wanted something I enjoyed more, something that suited me better. It does. I like my bosses, my coworkers and our clients. I’m getting to interact with and meet some really interesting people. But I have to push myself every day. The workload is overwhelming at times and some days I want to sit and cry. I had such high hopes. I thought things would be different because the job is different, the people are different, the work is different. But…I’m not different. Damn!

What is comes down to is this. It’s not my dad or my job that are the problem. It’s my overwhelming need to prove I’m good enough that drives me to do what I do. The other day I was on the phone with my girlfriend. I was feeling exhausted and near the breaking point.  And then it hit me. I don’t want to work this hard. I don’t. I’m done being the 10 year old trying to prove myself to my dad. I’m done! Over it!

Wow! That was quite an epiphany for me. I don’t want to work so hard. Who knew? What a relief. Now what? I can finally relax, right? Well, don’t get ahead of yourself. The reality is I can’t quit my job. And I don’t really want to. But, what I can do is stop and be present in those moments when I feel that insatiable need to work more…work harder. When I’m tired and I keep pushing myself, I can take a breath and remind myself…I am good enough. Because I am. And maybe, little by little, I’ll let go of that need to prove myself. It makes me feel peaceful just thinking about it.

Though it’s sometimes hard for me to remember when I’m running non-stop through my life. But, truthfully, there’s nothing to prove. And when I take a moment to stop and get quiet, I know in my heart I don’t have to do anything to earn anyone’s love. I am enough…just the way I am.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marta
    Mar 27, 2011 @ 11:51:24

    Own not being good enough, Shannon. You’ll know you’ve got it when you feel the burden lift!


  2. Shari
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 16:01:59

    Ya, so this is similar to something I’m going through which caused me to ask myself the WHAT IF?…
    -What’s the worst case scenario if you aren’t a hard worker, or even further, if you ARE LAZY?…


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