Okay, I understand that this sounds utterly ridiculous, but bear with me. You know that phrase “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, I guess I kind of understand and agree with it, but I find what is more accurate is “find a job you love and you’ll never be able to switch off, will work too many hours and it’ll bleed into every aspect of your life”. Catchy, huh?
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be one of those annoying people who has always known what they want to do for a job. My late Grandmother was a nurse and from the age of 3 or 4 it was what I said I wanted to do. Above is a photograph of me, aged no more than 4, dressed as a nurse on a jobs day at school. I often wonder how many of my peers went on to do the same job as they chose back then, but I’d imagine it isn’t many. Through school I toyed with the idea of joining the military as a nurse or mechanic, but this was put to bed when I was advised my health problems would prevent this from ever becoming a reality.
So, I was back to being a nurse. At the age of 16 I started working as a housekeeper on the general wards, before eventually moving on to become a care assistant. At the age of 18 I started my nurse training, qualifying at the age of 21. In September this year I celebrated 10 glorious years as a qualified NHS nurse.
But there’s a downside to loving a job this much. I can’t switch off. I live, breathe and sleep nursing. I work too much overtime. I check my work emails obsessively. And no, not just during working hours. My wife will attest to that; I spent a day at Champney’s spa checking and responding to emails. Not so relaxing. I find it difficult to stop thinking about assessments I’ve completed during the day, about decisions I’ve made and the potential implications if it was the wrong one. I even come home and watch television programmes that reflect the various aspects of my job; think “24 hours in A&E” type programmes. It impacts on my family life, both in terms of time and the emotional toll it can have on me.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a genuine 9-5 job, one that I could leave at the door at the end of each day. A job that didn’t break my heart, spin my head and drive me to tears. I’d be lying if I said there hadn’t been days where I’ve thought about leaving nursing. But the problem is, there’s no plan b. Without nursing I don’t even know who I am! So, for the time being, I just need to learn how to switch off and relax!
I’ve previously written about things that help with managing my anxiety, but I’m always curious to know how other people cope with stress, so please hit me up with any tips and tricks. I’m also really interested to hear from people who don’t have a vocation, in terms of they much more follow the philosophy of “work to live, not live to work”. Do you think that this makes it easier for you switch off?
Thankfully, it’s now Saturday and I’ve a whole weekend off with my little family. Time to log out of the emails and switch off the mobile…..