Thursday, November 20, 2014

Accepting What Is: At Work I Will Never Be “Caught Up”

I decided to take an afternoon of Paid Time Off (“PTO”) tomorrow. So, to accommodate my OCD, I worked until 8:30pm this evening. I am an exempt employee with certain tasks that must be accomplished in a time sensitive manner and have am expected to accomplish certain goals whether it requires 25 or 90 hours per week.  I have a job that will never be current, up to date, caught up. Instead, I am an insurance claims professional with a high level of expertise and the most I can hope for is a moment where there are no landmines ready to explode that will result in career suicide.

When one achieves a certain level of authority in this industry, the opportunity for an adverse result from a small oversight can have significant, sometimes catastrophic results on the company’s bottom line.  Legal time constraints, deadlines, policy interpretation, guessing how a jury will look at a set of facts based on what a different jury concluded with similar facts; assessing the legal acumen of the opponents; trying to read into the crystal ball to gain insight into what a particular judge may rule on a motion; completing the reports that notify every layer of management in various business units that may be impacted by a decision, not the mention the occasional oversight of missing a documents that changes the entire complexion of a case or the legal bill for $15M that blindsides one at the end of a case. Those are the balls I juggle on a daily basis.

While I’ve come to accept that I have a job that will never allow me to feel “caught up”, I still feel compelled to do the best that I can do with the limited tools and time that I have to avoid the most common pitfalls.  To do my job expertly, I would have to work 90 hours per week. But I am not willing to aspire to expert level at this point in my life. My primary career goal is to remain employed until I’m ready not to be. But I also want to produce a work product beyond ordinary expectations, which does require me to put in extra time.

In general, I do not work more than 50 hours per week. I stop by 5:15pm on evening I go to yoga.  Sometime I will start later so I can get in my morning workout.  I would rather start earlier on occasion to turn off the computer at a reasonable time to indulge in a pedicure. And today, I decided that it was worth a few extra hours this evening so I can enjoy a free afternoon tomorrow.

But I have learned that a work- life balance is critical to my overall wellbeing and I will not concentrate on my job to the exclusion of what truly matters – the things I get to do because I work hard! So tomorrow – I plan to spend the afternoon collecting our wine club wines from our local favorites and perhaps I’ll spend an hour or so with my Kindle in front of the fire at Rappahannock with the peace of mind that I’ve put out most of the fires that could cause me angst.

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