The other day I read a Reddit post titled “20 Years from Now, the Only People Who Will Remember That You Worked Late Are Your Kids.”
I began to tear up. I instantly began to think of my 6 month old daughter. In her short life, as hard as it is to admit, I’ve definitely worked too hard.
I instantly thought of all the times I could have been playing with her, and instead, worked on my online business.
I told myself it was to fund her future but that doesn’t make it feel right.
Working late all becomes a blur after a while
Fenix replied on Reddit with this interesting thought:
I’ve missed so many birthdays, plays, and events for work, and I can’t even tell you why. I don’t remember what I was working on, I can’t tell you why it was important. But I can tell you how my not being there made my kids feel.
So he did all that hard work and the rewards are forgotten. He can’t even tell you what the project was or who he worked for.
That’s what overworking does. It robs us of all meaning and makes us an overworked cog in a hungry capitalist machine that isn’t interested in family time.
Work feels important. We tell ourselves if we don’t do it our food and shelter could come under attack — but the truth is it probably won’t.
We work hard to impress a boss or get a promotion. But what could be more important than seeing our kids grow up?
Another Reddit reply said Boomers were taught never to miss work ever. Even if you’re sick or your kids have got chicken pops.
Maybe that’s right. But isn’t it time to change your ways and challenge this overworking, stay back late mate business culture?
Vargoroth says his old boss told him “the graveyard is full of ‘irreplaceable’ and important people.” Take a minute to ponder that thought.
It reminds me of this illustration:
Another Reddit user, Badnit12, says he spent 30 years going all over the world for his employer for a bunch of meetings that could have now been done over Zoom.
There were times when he was away from family for two months. It cost him two wives. And he was a stranger to his kids because he missed their school plays, sports events, and hanging out with them.
Now he’s retired so he’s become an amazing granddad, but if he had his time again he would have stopped all the overworking.
Don’t let a job waste the most precious years of your child’s life
My daughter has just started eating food for the first time.
Yesterday I caught myself typing emails at 7AM and stopped. I got up, walked to the kitchen, and sat down to eat breakfast with her.
Watching her little stomach process food for the first time and seeing her throw pumpkin at the walls is one of those nostalgic moments. No email with an invoice is more important than that.
I’m realizing real fast that kids are only young once.
You can’t go back and watch them grow up again. You can’t miss the first time they walk for a meeting, then relive the moment when you’re less busy. If you’re not there they notice.
And later in life you’ll get what you deserve. If you pissed away their childhood for useless meetings, then expect them to dislike or even hate you. I doubt any parent wants that.
Some jobs force you to abandon your kids and leave them out in the gutter in the freezing cold with no dinner to eat. If you have a job like that it’s time to quit. Workplace culture won’t change unless we do.
Just like how 99% of employees won’t work for an employer who doesn’t allow work from home after the great bat virus of 2020. The same is true for family time.
We must demand it — not for ourselves — but for our children.
I’m no angel in this respect. I fell for the lie business sells us, which is that we always need to be working. But I’m slowly changing.
As my daughter gets older the meaning for my life and work is changing. I have no interest in being an iPhone parent and letting TikTok program my kid’s brain with whatever viral trend is big in the moment.
The only way to take back control is to mentally fast-forward 20 years. Imagine you overworked and hardly saw your family.
Who will remember? Will you feel good?
Now you have that memory, save it in your brain and recall it every time work starts to take over or you find yourself working beyond normal work hours. That’s how we end this overworking epidemic.