When careers get demanding and workplace culture is rigid, we all choose different activities, habits, or aspirations to leave behind — sometimes at the expense of our own well-being. Here’s what 10 DailyWorth readers told us they’ve sacrificed for their careers.
“I'm incredibly ambitious, and between a demanding career, spending time with my partner, trying to find time to take care of myself (an exercise class I love, cooking a healthy meal), my social life has really declined. I used to see my friends every few nights, and now I'm lucky to see them once every two weeks (they refuse to allow me to multitask and go to my exercise classes with me because they're THE WORST). With everything I'm juggling, something had to give, and we have to settle for texting constantly for the time being. Still, I miss their faces.”
2. "Because I'm so exhausted by the time I get home at the end of the day, I definitely haven't exercised in months. But I really don't like exercising, so not having time works as a great excuse."
3. "The biggest thing I sacrifice is my sleep. And when I'm finally in bed at night, I stay up thinking about how much I don't sleep and everything I need to get done, or the people I should have seen. I guess you can sleep when you're dead, so it seems like one thing I can give up."
4. “I've delayed having a child because I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. It was more important for me to achieve professional success as opposed to expanding my family. At 36, I realize there will never be a perfect time. Also, a child doesn't mean I can't continue to be driven and ambitious.”
5. “My favorite exercise has always been swimming. Before I changed jobs last year, I used to happily wake up early before work to swim at my local YMCA. But now that I have a more demanding job, pre-work swims (which used to give me so much clarity, focus, and cardio) have more or less ended. I need the sleep instead, but it’s really difficult to not prioritize something I loved so much and really enriched my life.”
6. “I’ve completely given up quiet. I’m partnered and currently childless (although I do plan on children down the line), so I feel like I should be enjoying these evening stretches at home where there is actually silence in my home. I used to read, reflect, and generally unplug. But now when I get home, I just work more because my office culture demands it. I feel like it’s ultimately costing me my concentration.”
7. “I don’t have any interests outside work anymore. I’m a photographer and I used to take outside classes to improve my craft and generally boost my inspiration. But with my current job, pursuing anything outside the office is impossible because of the merciless conveyor belt we are on. It’s completely unsustainable and we burn through fantastic talent because of our uncompromising work culture.”
8. “I feel like I’m sacrificing finding a romantic partner. My office life is all-consuming. It’s the sphere in which I live my entire life, and even though I have come to love my colleagues as friends, there are no romantic possibilities in my current work situation. But the thing is, I don’t have the time to get out and meet somebody — even with all the dating apps that are available now. I just don’t have the space in my schedule to sleep and have an overpriced cocktail with a stranger.”
9. “I used to have a lot of hobbies — cooking, playing music, running. I had to cut down on the amount of time I spent on them, because keeping up with my hobbies ended up being very draining. Now I try to cook something new every few weeks, but music and running have taken a back seat.”
10. “I feel like I am actually sacrificing the longevity of my career. In most jobs, you meet people from different industries and build connections with other brands, even when you’re working hard at your current job. But I’m so siloed in my current position that I’m just not meeting anyone from other companies I might want to work for down the line. There was recently a round of layoffs and I instantly thought about what I would do if I were fired tomorrow.”
—Becca, 42 ▲