Life Stories, Lifestyle

Work-Life Balance

On 3rd November, I posted a blog named “A Slow Life” which mentioned that I started to slowly go back to my balanced life (no hustle with many assignments, no stress with job-seeking and interviews). However, I think it has been not really “slow” because I worked full-time and wrote my thesis (also full days) during the weekends.

Today is Friday but it is a public holiday in Finland continuously with weekend and Easter holiday. So totally I have 4 days off from work. Usually, I would think “Oh yeah have many days to concentrate on my thesis (or to finish something else regarding school or work).

However, today I woke up and realized I did not really have anything I “have to” do.

After 1,5 years

University done, Thesis done, Work: Traineeship done and is extended 🙂

For the past 4 months, from early December to last week (around the 3rd week of March), I have been running both a full-time traineeship and writing a thesis on weekends. I tried my best with all my effort to bring as good as possible outcomes for my work, and bringing all my effort to write my thesis the whole 2 days of weekends. I have to say that I started to feel exhausted in the end 😛 Even I am glad that I run my super speed to finish school early and luckily to get the entry-level job in Finland, I have to say this is not good in the long run. However, good news are my traineeship was extended because I had good performance evaluation (little moment of being proud here :P), and my thesis is 99% finished (now just waiting to refine from supervisor’s feedback and refine minor things before submitting officially)

Actually, for me, work-life balance is very necessary, that is why I always prioritize that. Just that in the past 1,5 years since landing in Finland I had to prioritize work and study here in Finland. I guess because I thought I was a foreigner from a very small developing country, so if local people here made their effort 100%, I had to make my effort 150% or even 200% 🙂

Work-life balance cultures: Vietnam vs. Finland

Back in Vietnam, I was a really work-life balance person, I did not highly evaluate companies that have a culture of forcing their staff to stay late after work, and see OT (overtime) work as normal without thinking of paying that OT compensation for the staff. In Vietnam, the culture where companies think working out of office time is the responsibility of employees if they could not finish work within their office hours was very popular, and most of companies will avoid paying that kind of extra salary. Furthermore, to discuss with managers about the workload to adjust or reduce so employees would not need to work long hours was not very (or not at all) popular in Vietnam. (I use past tense because I left Vietnam nearly 2 years so I did not know if things changed).

I remember I used to work as an assistant to a C-level manager, and he required his assistant to go home after him no matter if there was still work or not, and no matter what time the office hours were. I remember when I was a Graphic Designer, working time finished at 4 PM and my colleagues called me at 7:30 to “beg” if I could be online to assist customers. I remember a friend of mine who was also a Designer, saying that most of the working day he and the team stayed at office until 9PM and it was normal, it was unnormal if they could finish earlier. (To be honest, this horrified me…)

Now, when I see my colleagues here in Finland have very good work-life balance, and they respect the personal time of each person after work. When I said I worked late to complete something, my Lead asked if it was ok like he was worried if I could have enough rest or not. When I told the team I had no plan for the weekend but staying home and writing thesis, my teammates were also concerned and asked if I was ok without resting fully on weekends. Even my direct manager, when she gave feedback to me, she said I was very productive, I should not worry about that, the thing I should do was to be more relaxed (lol).

I just… wow… the working culture here is so different, and I am grateful for this.

Deep work but get rest

The more I am familiar with “deep work”, the more I see that resting outside the working time in proper ways which means, for examples, no long hours staring at the phone, mindful eating, walking in nature, exercising, etc., especially the digital detox is very important. I love to organize my life again so besides being productive at work, I also can be productive in improving my health, mental health, my personal lifestyle and hobbies as well. Those are like nutrition for energy and a healthy brain to continue doing my best at work.

I know I have the most work-life balance when I have nothing to do on my weekend, and that all I can think about is sitting down and writing a blog post as of now 🙂 or simply into my lovely journal with hand-writing (I love doing hand-writing even though my hand-writing does not really look nice) 🙂

Happy Easter to everyone!

Fri 29.03.2024

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