Technology allows us to lead 24/7 work lives with virtually no boundaries and it has started to take a severe mental toll on employees across industries.
Setting boundaries in the workplace is crucial in order to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being as well as to establish a healthy work-life balance. Do you consistently agree to new projects and struggle to keep up? If your answer is yes, then you could be experiencing exhaustion. Job stress is a primary source of anxiety in this generation and has escalated over the past decades. Technology allows us to lead 24/7 work lives with virtually no boundaries and has started to take a severe mental toll on employees. A laid-off IT employee (@suburbconvert) recently took to TikTok to share a valuable lesson about setting boundaries in a professional atmosphere.
"I was part of the recent massive IT corporate layoff, and like many of us, I was a top performer that got let go with no notice," she began. She mentioned that she worked during family vacations and had brought her laptop and worked because she thought it would be rewarded later. "All of this is to say that if you are still employed, set boundaries. What are they going to do? Fire you? If you don't set boundaries, they are firing you anyways." She added, "If you are a layoff victim, first of all, I'm sorry." Shuffling in her seat while looking at the camera, she said, “Second of all, go get you a $15 an hour job rolling burritos. If you are fortunate enough to afford that luxury, do it. It's worth it."
The TikTok user concluded the video by saying, "Your mental health and your life is not worth the salary or the accomplishment of a 'career.'" Whatever your joy is, realizing that you will not be paid more for working extra hours or seven days a week is necessary. There is no point in putting your mental and physical well-being above a temporary aspect of your life. Your profession is temporary; you will retire one day, but health is forever. Furthermore, because your coworkers are your friends, it is only appropriate that you establish healthy boundaries and a proper work-life balance. Setting limits helps to visualize your boundaries getting crossed, and when a similar moment arises, you can handle it diplomatically versus emotionally.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work has altered the typical work-life balance, leading to resentment with every after-hours email or message. Limiting your availability outside of work hours and conducting a boundary audit about where you need to set limits with your seniors and associates can go a long way. As author and researcher Brené Brown succinctly put it, "Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can't base our worthiness on others' approval. Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say 'Enough!'"
The TikTok video has gained 54.9k views and nearly 3k likes. It struck a chord with many fellow employees who do not condone putting work before their mental well-being. "Never, EVER, work on vacation or go above and beyond at all ever. Ever," said @ericpitcock. "Consulting taught me a long time ago to have HARD boundaries - and stick to them. No one has access to me 24x7," shared @justagirlfromli. "Always take a job that DOES respect boundaries. Even as an instructor: no contact after 6:00 p.m., not available on weekends or holidays. EVER. #Respect," added @falcontypo. "It’s a good but hard lesson to learn. Do not make with a priority on ANY day! Especially not on vacations," said @pennwhy.