When exactly did everyone start pushing the pedals to the floor so we could run on all cylinders professionally-speaking, at all times? I think I can pin-point the moment I recognized it as a working adult. It had nothing to do with the onset of social media, flexible office hours or any of those usual culprits. It didn't come from our overuse of the word busy and being overwhelmed wasn't always the norm.
If I tried, I could recall the night just few years out of college - in the 90s no less - that I sensed the beginning of the speed-of-light, 24-hour work cycle, a precursor to an economic downturn in the region that left many of us facing layoffs at worst, and few resources at best. I met up with a friend, an engineer, who noticed too that the workload and pace in each of our fields wasn't viable, or even humanly possible, and would only get worse. We tipped back our Starbucks coffees in the crisp air, perched on a front porch in posh downtown Birmingham feeling a little wiser and lot more confused.
I see that same realization on the faces of young professionals everyday.
The expectations can seem absolutely impossible. I have had effectively three careers, all dealing with media. I love each of them - from journalism to social media to public relations.
And I have done other work, too. Customer service in college. Babysitting to pay the bills. Regardless of the job - work is a lot of work. It means long hours. It's harder and harder to disconnect. I am not always adept at having a life outside of work. We regularly adjust to jobs on our own - and fast.
So has it changed, really? I am and always have been a workaholic. But as for the feeling that we're all too busy, with too much to do now, I ask, has the workplace really changed? Or is our collective work ethic different in 2015, overall? What do you think?