I’ve decided that I need to enter a new relationship—with myself. I think everyone needs to learn to have a better relationship with themselves. A co-worker mentioned she needed to step away from the desk today so I told her to go and take a break. She immediately replied, “I’m salary I don’t get a lunch or a break.” I wasn’t in the mood to argue but I realized that we have a fundamentally different view of work. I saw in a split second that unhealthy expectations are immediately present in the work environment. Being salary doesn’t mean you don’t get a break. It means that you are paid for X amount of hours to do a certain job in a certain time. Me, I get paid for 40 hours. That means that anything over 40 hours decreases my hourly wage and it is encroaching on my time. Or, more simply, I am not paid for anything over 40 hours.
Anything over 40 hours is on my time and I am allowed to put in my time and be done with work. I don’t owe any explanations and I want to be clear that anyone in this situation—the same applies. Being a salaried employee doesn’t mean that you are at the whim of the business—although that is what we have let it mean. I have always looked at it as a matter of time management. Because of my neuroses and control issues, I have always been incredibly efficient at time management. If you aren’t able to complete your work in 40 hours you either have too much work or you aren’t spending your time correctly.
No one should have to work for free. No one should have to work more than eight hours a day to prove their worth. And in this day and age, no one should have to forego a break or eating just because they hold a certain position. We are all human. Where the new relationship comes in is right here: I don’t need to prove my worth to anyone, I don’t owe anyone more than what I have agreed to, and I don’t need external accolades or points to be considered successful.
Learning to set boundaries is one of the most important forms of self-care and self-love. It is a matter of doing what is right for me. It is listening and honoring what my mind and body are telling me. And quite frankly, I don’t have to stay where I am not valued. I read a quote today that said, “I am the CEO of my life.” I no longer feel comfortable allowing people to determine the course of my life based on what they need or what they think is right. Living this life is about recognizing what is right for each of us and what we are meant to do with that—what we can share with the world.