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In My Eyes: Overworked

By Edward B. Antonio

Kristine is a brilliant mother of 2 who was working as head accountant in a multimillion company but was receiving only P14,000 a month. The company has 13 other branches and as the chief accountant, her duty included roving around these branches to check their accounting procedures and financial status.

She said in the process, she received something like P16,000 more or an estimate of P1230 honorarium per branch inspected. The branches were far apart from each other, so, to solve the matter, she bought a motorcycle and eventually a second hand car. It could have been okay with her, but in the long run, she felt her world started to get smaller everyday.

She brought her works home and spent countless sleepless nights working on the financial conditions and records of the company. She made a portion of her house her private office. Aside from this, she also acts as the company’s Human Resource Management Officer. She relieved other office personnel when they could not perform well. She made and emceed programs and performed other jobs not specified within her bound of works.

Indeed, she considered herself as a one-man army conquering piles and piles of works! Eventually, the bulk of the work assigned to her by the CEO slowly gnawed her patience.

One day, she got the courage to talk with her CEO. She suggested that the company must hire additional manpower to handle the other jobs.

But I trust only you, Kristine,” the CEO said.

Sir, I can help train these people,” she replied.

The CEO hired new employees and Kristine, true to her words, trained them patiently. But no roving accountant was hired and Kristine had to continue roving the 13 branches with her meager pay. After two years of stress, her patience snapped. She resigned.

I saw Kristine last week and she said the reason she resigned was she was overworked and underpaid.

Why? You seemed to be paid well,” I said.

It would be good, sana, if the honorarium I received were added to my basic salary because it’s the basis of benefits when one retires, not the honorariums,” she said.

She also said that because she had made an extension of the office in her house and worked there at night, she no longer had time for her husband, her kids and their house.

Napababayaan ko na sila,” she said.

She said she suddenly woke up one day to realize how much time she had been spending with her work and how little attention she was giving to her family.

To get her composure back after that resignation, she applied in a government agency where she now works.

I am happier and more contented now because I can spend quality time already with my family on weekends and the whole evening when I arrive home,” she said.

Sean Bryant, an expert on work schedules, says there’s always a time to quit a job when you are no longer happy.

He says it’s to go when:

1. You have difficulty relaxing – even when you’re not working. Difficulty relaxing is a sure sign of being overworked, and maybe even of total job burnout. It comes largely from always needing to be “on,” as in being locked into a perpetually high state of readiness to be able to deal with whatever may come up. This can be especially acute when you hold a job that is exceptionally high stress, such as one in which you’re dealing with a constant flow of emergency situations. But it can also happen when you’re in a job that requires very long hours,and the dividing line between work and personal life is blurred.

2. You feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. Many jobs require that you do the work of two or three people, often as a result of downsizing. When co-workers are laid off, their work still needs be done, and so it’s off-loaded to the remaining employees. A sure sign that this problem has reached chronic proportions is when working overtime becomes a regular part of your job.

3. Your to-do list keeps growing. Your attempts at better organization help, but they never come close to making your job completely manageable. You start the day with seven items on your to-do list, but during the course of the workday, the list expands to 12 items. By the end of the day, you might have completed five things that needed to get done, but your list just continues to grow.

4. You feel like you’ll never catch up. No matter how fast or efficiently you work, you’re never able to keep up with the constant flow of additional work. This is especially true with employees who function as the “go-to person” in the office, who troubleshoots more complicated problems and is routinely expected to back up less productive coworkers. You seldom experience the feeling of actually being done with any assignment or project, either at the end of the day, the week or the month.

5. Your health is visibly deteriorating. And these include you’re getting underweight or overweight, feeling lots of body aches, taking lots of medications and increasing blood pressure!

6. You don’t have a family to attend to anymore!

Any or all of these can happen when your work becomes so all-encompassing that there’s no time for anything else. When it reaches the point where being overworked, it’s time for a serious heart-to-heart with your superiors, or at the extreme, to look for a new job.

As in Kristine.#

 
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