On June 11 of this year, a viral Tweet authored by venture capitalist Jordan Kong made its rounds on the popular social networking platform. The thread began with the Tweet: “Unpopular opinion: the best thing young people can do early in their careers is to work on the weekends.”
Kong then proceeds to detail the excessive stress and physical health issues she endured to maintain this no-weekend lifestyle, concluding that her hard work has brought her “tremendous joy and happiness.”
If that sounds like an unappealing way of life to you, you’re not alone. In today’s capitalism-focused culture, economic gain often takes priority over our mental and physical health. Even if the work we perform is truly meaningful to us, burnout is never something to aspire to. In this article, we’ll delve into why young people shouldn’t work on weekends, how to avoid burnout, and ways to keep your career moving forward without the stress.
How to Avoid Burnout
The answer to avoiding burnout is actually quite simple: work fewer hours and make those working hours more productive.
For those with the job flexibility and financial means to do so, cutting back on the number of hours you work is a simple way to avoid burnout. As Americans, that’s something we need to be especially mindful of. While many of our workers have zero paid vacation days, countries in other parts of the world, such as France and Austria, have up to 30 paid vacation days. In some places, that number is even higher!
What’s perhaps worse is the sense of obligation we feel to our jobs. Even while on vacation, you may find yourself checking your work email or fielding a call from your boss. While it may seem counterintuitive, taking the time to completely unplug can be highly valuable. When your mind has the chance to relax and unwind, your return to work will be more productive.
That leads us to the second point of our two-pronged strategy to avoid burnout: make your working hours more productive. When you sit down to work, eliminate all external distractions. Don’t waste time checking emails every 10 minutes when checking once or twice a day is probably more than sufficient.
Getting Ahead Without the Stress
You may worry that without a little hustle, your career won’t take off in the way you want it to. While a little hustle may be good, it isn’t everything. You can choose to work smarter, not harder, and never sacrifice your personal well-being for work.
One way to work smarter is to choose your place of employment wisely. It’s not necessary to work backbreaking hours at an exploitative job to be successful. When you know how to prepare for a job interview, you’ll ask all the right questions about work-life balance and the things that matter to you in the workplace.
Another thing you can do is to change some of your daily habits. It may seem obvious, but getting a full night’s sleep is essential to your mental and physical well-being. If you find yourself losing sleep over work-related stress, it’s time to take a step back and get back to basics.
Those basics will depend on your individual needs but will likely include some kind of self-care component. Recovering from overworking yourself can even be fun. Have you been neglecting your hobbies? Are you spending enough time with your family and friends? Leave work at work and when you’re home, focus on your personal and family life.
A Changing Business World
In the 21st century, the business landscape is constantly changing. Awareness is the first step toward positive change, as we’ve seen in the case of discrimination toward teens.
Imposter syndrome is another phenomenon that’s come into its own over the past few years. The vast number of people experiencing severe self-doubt is skyrocketing, especially when it comes to their careers. Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, from prolific businessmen to international sports superstars to everyday office workers.
Even icons like Serena Williams and Maya Angelou have admitted to feeling like frauds at times, completely undeserving of their success and fame. It’s natural to feel that way from time to time, but fortunately, there are ways to overcome imposter syndrome in your work, whether that’s taking a break or repeating positive affirmations.
As we look toward the next few decades, we have much to learn from the burnout and stress we’ve accumulated over the last 20 or 30 years. Thanks to these lessons, the workforce is gradually growing more diverse. Businesses are becoming more forward-thinking in terms of technology, and the Internet means we’re constantly in connection with peers and industry experts.
In all these ways, Generation Z will change the business world, but there is still much progress to be made in the American workplace. It all starts with giving young workers their lives back — no, you should not work on weekends.