23 April 2007

Working Life

When I first joined the company as a trainee, I was shocked to see how people were crazy to work overtime. I thought to myself, "Am I going to join them sooner or later?" After some time, I started to enjoy working overtime and getting extra money at the end of the month. I spend most of my time at work, which includes weekends as well.

I continued working as much overtime as possible for a couple of months when finally I told myself that this was crazy and I have to put a stop to it. I realized that I was missing other aspects of life and my work-life balance was in terrible state.

I started to cut down on my overtime and did it only when it was really necessary. Sure enough I had to forget the good extra money at the end of the month. Years passed by and I enjoyed my life as a trainee. I was not tied up to work and free to go home when others continued to work.

At that time, I was still young and some of the senior workers gave me some advice. They told me that I should work extra hours and earn extra money now when I'm still young and strong so that I don't have to work hard for money after retirement.

After 4 years of going through the apprenticeship training, I finally graduated and started the real work. I was shocked with the responsibilities I had to bear. I didn't have the luxury of going home early unlike before. I was stressed out for a few months before getting used to the job. However, I still tried my best to avoid working too much overtime. I tried hard to keep a good work-life balance.

People around me thought that I was a strange guy, avoiding overtime when others loved doing it. They had hardly or perhaps never seen an employee who disliked overtime.

I have been working for this company for almost 14 years now and those seniors mentioned earlier who advised me to work hard and save money for retirement, most of them have reached their retirement age. Majority of them continued to work pass their retirement age, and they are still working extra hours.

Looking at this scenario, I always ask myself, "At what age would I completely retire from work?"

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