The company don’t own you

You found a job with a company that you love. Or maybe you found a job that bring you joy majority of the time. When you go to work, you are always happy because of your colleagues and probably the culture. And you are paid what you deserved.

And because of that, you put in most of your waking hours into your work. You show up everyday, never missing a day. When there’s a crisis, you are always first to respond because you are professional and very responsible.

If you do it out of your own freewill, that’s great. At least you are intentional about it.

Then come a day when something happened in your personal life that required your immediate attention. And it’s a weekend. It’s your much deserved rest day. At the same time, because of your “constant” showing up at work, your bosses want you to work over the weekends to prepare for a proposal for an upcoming contract that the company desparately needs.

Now, because you are so responsible and professional, you choose to do what your bosses asked and put the personal situation aside. The situation could be anything. It could be something as simple as your best friend’s birthday, or as tragic as someone you love died, or something as joyous as your wife is giving birth to your first child.

Maybe you don’t think it’s wrong. Maybe you think that there’s always another time.

But life is unpredictable. By putting your work and the company your work for front and center of everything, you risk creating a massive discontent and imbalance in your life. Who knows one day, the company decides to lay you off because of lack of funds in its banks. Then you finally realise you sacrifice your life, energy, and relationships for the wrong reason.

I’m not saying not to be irresponsible or be unprofessional. But there has to be a line between you taking care of your tasks and you putting yourself, your life, your relationship first. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than your family, your friends and your health. After all, the company is not going to cry when you die. Maybe your friends who are also your colleagues will. The company is not going to miss you when you leave. They will just hire another to replace you. You are there to add value to the company’s bottom line and in return you are paid for the effort. If you can’t add value, you are let go.

So if you think or feel that you should take a day off from work, do it. And if the company decides to force you to go back for a team building event on a weekend and it’s a non-working day, it doesn’t mean you should go for it unless, well, you really love hanging out with your colleagues. Then, by all means go. I for one only have my weekends to catch up on my sleep and rest. So I draw a line there.

Always remember that, the company doesn’t own you even though the company usually has a bigger negotiating power. At the end of the day, both of you are in a service contract that can be terminated anytime. When the contract is terminated, you don’t own the company anything unless, well, you stole something that doesn’t belong to you.

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