08/10/2016 Stephanie Anderson

Going for the gold? 5 signs you’re sacrificing too much for your career

Laurie Hernandez. 9 August 2016 Instagram.

Every four years people around the world tune in with bated breath to watch their favorite events in the summer games. The talented athletes they watch have spent thousands of hours training in hopes of standing on the podium and hearing their country’s national anthem.

Countless sacrifices are required to make it to the top. Tough career decisions must be made.

Consider 16-year-old USA gymnast Laurie Hernandez who went pro just days before making her Olympic debut in Rio. This controversial decision means Hernandez can now accept sponsorships. Some argue this is a wise decision, considering the generally short time gymnasts are at their peak. The drawback? She’s banned from accepting athletic scholarships or participating in collegiate sports. Granted, bringing home a team gold last night likely means it was a good bet, as sponsorship offers will be aplenty.

There’s no doubt that at the time this was a tough decision, but it’s not unlike the difficult career decisions professionals must make every day. Whether it’s changing careers, moving across the country for a job opportunity or working 70-hour weeks in order to make partner, it takes hard work to make your dreams a reality.

These sacrifices affect every aspect of your life, not just your time at work. How do you know when your hard work has crossed the line from ambitious to insane? Consider these five red flags as signs that you’ve taken your career endeavors a bit too far. If these sound familiar, you don’t need to quit; it just might be time to take a step back and reassess.

You have no free time

In order to be the best professional you can be, you need balance in your life. This means time away from work for your brain and body to recharge. If you’ve given up your hobbies, no longer visit the gym and are consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep, you may be pushing yourself too hard.

You have no friends

Workaholics have calendars booked solid with meetings, but few times blocked for social events. If your relationships with friends and family are barely existent, it’s time for a wake-up call. A full life allows for more than just work. No one, after all, wishes they had put in more hours working when they are on their death bed.

You think about work constantly

Most people think about work outside of the office, but it’s easy to take this overboard. Do people joke that your job is your obsession? Don’t consider that a compliment. If your conversations always end up being about work, even when they didn’t start on that subject, take note.

You’re always digitally connected

If you never silence your smartphone and can’t resist checking work email the moment you wake up, then it’s time to disconnect. It’s important to stay on top of your work, however, most emails don’t need to be answered at 3 a.m. just because you happened to hear the alert.

You’re constantly stressed and anxious

Working too much takes a toll on your well-being. If you always feel stress and anxiety, you may have to address your career goals again. Working hard for your dreams isn’t easy. However, if you’re constantly unhappy, maybe your dreams have changed. It’s OK to pursue a new one.

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