When I was young I got told I could be and have anything if I worked for it. This stuck to me as I was not raised by a wealthy family – and to think of going from a struggling tiny house (where my sister shared a room with mum) to living a life where I wouldn’t have such problems, was pretty fucking cool.
I was always encouraged to get a professional job with good money; so I worked hard as a teenager to get great marks at school and spent alot of time sorting out the pros and cons for each of my career options (nutritionist, dermatologist, designer or accountant). In the end I chose the career with the least amount of money (a graphic designer), so in my second year of uni I decided to change into Architecture. This was great, it was the perfect combination between math and design. I loved it and was getting awesome marks… but at what cost? The subject took up almost all of my time, and with whatever time I had left I spent working 3 jobs to pay for the supplies i needed, my life in general and to put money into savings. I would go from working one job all day to another job till 3am and then if i was really lucky, I’d squeeze in a shift the morning after. I tried to fill out every spot possible in my week for maximum efficiency. In other words, my social life was non-existent, and all I had to show for it was exhaustion and praise on how much of a dedicated hard worker I was.
It wasn’t until I decided to defer for 6 months and go back to graphic design did I realise how much damage I was doing to my life. I was in denial to think that I could keep working like that until I reach where I wanted to be in life. I know you always hear of people working their arses off to be where they are but sometimes you have to stop and think about how you are truly going inside. How’s your health & well being, how’s your social life? It’s so easy to forget that humans are conditioned to group and need to be social for survival. So remember to take care of your mental health as too many people push themselves, without stopping to reflect. Sadly this sometimes means they have worked themselves into that much of cycle that they take their own life (if you are ever having those thoughts, seriously talk to someone, it shouldn’t ever be something to feel embarrassed of).
Anyways, I have learnt a few things:
You don’t need to sacrifice everything to get somewhere in life you just need to have confidence and passion in what you’re doing.
Don’t force a certain way of life in hope that one day it will all pay off, because let’s be serious, what if it doesn’t?
Don’t beat yourself up over things, just reflect, learn and move forwards.
Work hard but don’t neglect what’s important in life.
Most importantly though, remember one simple, yet vital rule; everything in moderation. Finding the perfect balance that works for you between work/career, social and home life because that could be the difference between happiness or not… and happiness is priceless.
By Mika Campbell
Mika is an almighty legend for Work-Shop Brisbane and runs her own blog – www.bleachtapes.com