Many of us in this industry work very hard indeed. Whether it’s business leaders working to diversify and grow their companies, fabricators on the shop floor staying late to fulfil order delivery deadlines, office staff pricing late to make sure installers get their prices to home owners. Many go above and beyond what they’re contracted to do to help push their companies and our industry onwards.

It’s an admirable thing. I know first hand how many hours I put in in all the things I do, be it in my online ventures or at the family run installations business. But, I have questioned in recent years whether my work-life balance is in fact balanced. And after my recent visit to the FIT Show this year, and observing the conversations that I did, I don’t think we do.

Too much work, not enough down time

In my time in this industry, as I am sure is the same in other industries, there is a lot of personal sacrifice from many who work in our sector. Be it on the factory floor up to the boardroom and all other positions in between. It is to be respected and admired, but there should be a limit to what we do in our work lives.

During my time and conversations over the three days at this year’s FIT Show it became apparent how many of us spent our quality time with loved ones at the desk or on screens instead. On the Friday I was having a conversation with a couple of industry friends of mine where we were discussing this very topic and they agreed (I think) with my thoughts on this.

Even on Twitter there are plenty of my industry friends on there who regularly share that they are working, even on a Saturday or a Sunday. It’s great that they’re busy, but could there be someone else in their lives wanting some of that weekend attention instead?

I remember about three years ago where I nearly worked myself into the ground. We were slammed at our family installations business, my actual day job, as well as putting big hours into DGB and the NFAs. By the end of the year I remember feeling absolutely horrendous. I had hardly had any holiday time. We moved in just months before so money for a holiday abroad wasn’t an option. But day after day after day was spent in front of screens and pricing notes. I didn’t spend anywhere near the time I should have done with Soph, family and friends. At the end of that year, feeling utterly run down and exhausted, I promised to Soph and myself that I wouldn’t do this to myself again. It’s just work, it will all get done at some point, not everything needs to be done right away and that I need to give myself some downtime with my loved ones.

Since then, I would like to think I have got my work-life balance back to some sort of normality. As a side note, if you’re reading this at your desk and it’s Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you don’t actually need to be there, GO HOME!

It’s just a job

I think we need to remember that this is all indeed just a job. Whether you’re in the industry media, an installer, a surveyor, a business owner or anything else, this really is just a job. I get that business owners will have emotional connections to the things they have built. I do with all the things I have built. But why do we do what we do? It’s to make money yes. But what for? For security and the wellbeing of our loved ones. To go out and explore the world. To go travelling. To eat. To drink. To socialise. To watch films. To drive exciting cars. To be comfortable. If you already have that via your job, then you’re in a better position than most and should make the most of it.

At the end of the day we should be working to live, not be living to work. There is so much in this world to enjoy, be it on our own or with others. Work, jobs, business should not be the thing that dictates how we live, or at least our time off.

So, remember people, it’s just a job. The really important things are the people you go home to everyday. Sometimes I think we all too easily forget that.