This is a dilemma every middle-class working person deals with in their career, especially in their early formidable years. There is so much work to do, that it simply consumes you. You barely have any time left to have fun with your friends. And if you have your eyes set on a specific goal, a certain level of income you want to earn, and a senior position at your company, then prioritizing your friendships becomes even more difficult. You simply have no time left, after all the work you have to get done.
But is that really wise? Does a higher paycheque really matter that much more than your personal relationships with your friends and family? Is there really any meaning to our lives if we earn a lot of money but do not have any friends left to celebrate it with. We have also seen how work can separate us from our once close friends. We talk less frequently, we get busier, we don’t reach out to them and they don’t reach out to us. We unintentionally create too much space between ourselves, to the point that it starts feeling awkward to even try reaching out anymore. They start feeling like strangers we once used to know.
Work also separates us from our family now, because work demands a lot more travel now and travel can be extremely draining. Or perhaps the opportunity that you need, that you want to have, is in a different city or country. That creates a lot of physical distance from your entire family and social circle. And when the distance is so large, it takes a lot of effort to maintain the same relationships. We start living a nuclear life, isolated by ourselves, trying to find and fill more meaning into our daily routines. And with time, it becomes almost impossible to meet any new people either. You don’t have as many opportunities to talk to new people as you do in school and college.
There is no question that being successful in your career is very important, but is it really more important than your personal life and relationships? Probably not. Isolation can be a leading cause for developing a range of mental health issues as well, which might even impact your performance at work. So the only way to not spiral apart into chaos is to maintain a strong balance of both your work and personal life. Care about your work and your career, but not at the cost of your own mental health and your personal relationships with your friends and family. Learning how to prioritize them properly is very vital to living a happy life.
What do you think one should do if they have to choose between their professional success and personal relationships?