I believe there is harmony in seeking to be well-rounded. We are whole individuals and should not be summed up solely by the positions we hold. It is a part of us, and everything we do in one aspect of our lives contributes to another aspect of our lives, i.e. our work in the federal government. Allow me a moment to reflect on some aspects of life outside our federal employment that in turn contributes to our overall productivity and well-being.
Aside from at work, are you challenging yourself in other aspects of your life? You work approximately a 40 hour work week. Well there’s 168 hours in a week and if you deduct sleep, travel and work time, there’s still over 60 hours left in your week. That leaves at least 8 ½ hours a day- that’s enough for a whole other work day! What in the world are you doing with it? Get involved. Do you participate in outside social and/or professional organizations such as YGL, volunteer, or take up special interests or hobbies, etc. Is there somewhere you’d like to be professionally 5-7 years from now? If so, and it’s not in line with what your current job entails, what are you doing to get there? Make yourself more competitive. Want to do communications, but it doesn’t seem to fit into any of the requirements of your current position? Take an advanced writing class, a class in journalism, or look into your local Toastmasters. International work? Expose yourself to different cultures, take a course in Governance, or learn a new language. Be creative, be proactive, and whatever you do, don’t just let life just pass you by.
When you take vacation time from work…take a vacation!!! Don’t just stay home to run errands and work on “home projects”, that’s what the weekends are for. Nothing is worse than burnout, and it can happen even in a job that you ab-so-lute-ly love. When you return to work, you will be refreshed, and may approach your job responsibilities and future goals with a new positive perspective. I prefer to hop on a plane and travel somewhere distant and unknown, but a vacation can be just as simple and effective as taking a relaxing road trip a few states away to a quaint town, getting geared up for the outdoor adventures of picturesque mountains or woods, or the liveliness of an upbeat city that never sleeps. Whatever’s your pleasure, just take your pick and GO.
Save, Save, Save!!!
If you can save, even if only a little, it will make you feel more in control. It can’t be a good feeling to have to live paycheck to paycheck. If you can save a little each check, you can start to build a nest egg. Yes, of course many of us will say “my job doesn’t pay enough”, and unless your up for a promotion, that’s probably not going to change tomorrow. Above all else, you should be happy with what you’ve chosen to do professionally and until you can make the money that makes you comfortable, work with what you’ve got. Try cutting back on some things that aren’t necessities right now. If things are tight, you may want to make some adjustments like consolidating your student loans or putting them into deferment. Contribute to your 401K, most agencies will match up to 5%. That’s free money in addition to your paycheck; don’t let it pass you by. Put forth some effort in trying to save and invest, and you’ll probably find yourself less stressed over what your paycheck looks like today, because you’ll know soon it will look much better.
Strengthen your Network
All of us know about professional networking, but don’t forget about making time to nurture relationships with family and friends. This is a strong network, one that will follow you throughout your life and therefore throughout your careers. Treat this network as an investment in your personal well-being.
We are Young Government Leaders, and when I think of a leader, I think of a person who has a passion for what they do and work hard to be good at it. They work hard by taking initiative, constantly challenging themselves as well as those around them, and they seek to be positive well-rounded individuals, who know the value of nurturing strong networks both professionally and personally. It’s important to have an interest in what you do, and know your limits. Then push yourself beyond your “comfort zone”, and as you blaze your trail to success, remember to encourage and guide those following.
Marissa Pretto, Treasurer
Young Government Leaders