Ask a Recruiter...
07 SEP 2018

Published by Karina Beasley

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Ask a Recruiter...

I feel guilty leaving at 6pm because everyone else seems to be working really long hours, what should I do?

This is an all too common problem.

When you pack up your stuff at 6pm and head out the door to a yoga class, a dinner with friends, or an important date in front of the sofa eating Cheetos and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race, you get ‘the look’ from your colleagues. It’s a mixture of jealousy and smugness that makes you feel like you should sit back down and find something else to do immediately. 

How can you have done a good job if everyone else is still at their desks, ordering Deliveroo and looking like they’ll be there for the duration?!

Ditch the guilt

First, if you’re doing everything that’s expected of you (and maybe even a little bit more) within your working hours then you need to get rid of those feelings of guilt ASAP. 

Unfortunately, in today’s ‘always on’ culture mobiles are never far from our hand, and some people feel like they need to work until silly o’clock to prove they’re doing a good job, even if they have nothing to do.  If you’re managing your time properly and doing a good job – then it really shouldn’t matter if you leave at 6pm. It’s is not about looking the part – it’s about what you do within those working hours.

There’s bound to be the odd time where you’ll have to work late on a last minute pitch, it’s just the nature of the beast. We all work in a project dependent world - time management is key and resourcing your time efficiently is too. But it doesn’t have to be the norm if you don’t want it to be.

Speak up

If you’re really struggling to dispel these feelings of guilt, why not ask for a chat with your line manager? That way you can work out if you ARE doing everything that is expected of you and set your mind at ease. 

Is it a culture thing?

Some people don’t mind having less of a work-life balance because the work is their life, and so are happy to work until 11pm on a project. And yes in some places this is just the culture and it’s how they all work and tackle projects. 

If this doesn’t sound like you then you probably need to look elsewhere. Maybe it’s time for a new job where the work life balance is part of their ethos?

Be the leader

Maybe it’s as simple as nobody wants to be the first to leave? People are pack animals – maybe everyone is just waiting for the first person to say “thanks guys, see you tomorrow”. 

Are you ready to leave?

On the flip side, maybe you’re leaving at 6pm because those are your ‘hours’ and you haven’t actually finished your work or at a point where you should leave then there’s another problem here. Maybe the workload is too much for you, in which case you need to speak to your line manager about how you can address this?

Striking a balance

Constantly working until the wee hours isn’t good for anyone. If you’re exhausted, you start to make mistakes which isn’t good for business and being tired all the time isn’t good for your own physical health either. Getting a nap on the sofa in the kitchen doesn’t count.

If you’ve got more of a work-life balance, you’ll be less likely to be tired and so you’ll perform much better! 

It’s important to have some sort of life outside work. All work and no play makes your creative work very dull. Having the time to do other things aside from work could be the inspiration that fuels your next idea!

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