Those of us who have worked for both large employers and small businesses know the differences all too well. Working for a small business can be rough. You may be over-extended, over-worked, and under-paid…for years on-end. Over the years, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to help relieve the stress of tough jobs. While they may not work for everyone, they work for me.
Leave it at work
It’s not always easy to do, but it does help. You don’t live for the company, right? You put in your 8.5-12 hours and then go home, so why should the job control your life? If you can leave work at the time-clock, you’ll be a much happier person and your spouse/significant other will be grateful. This goes for business owners, too. When you’re done for the day, enjoy being who you are, not what you do.
Don’t kill yourself
I’m not speaking literally, here, but don’t do that either. Work is work, but you need some playtime. Go biking, play a video game, take a walk with your significant other, or catch a movie in the theater (not behind your desk while you finish up an important project, like so many of us do). Using your free time for fun activities that take you away from home and work (IE: not watching television) may be just the boost you need.
Have a life
I’ve already touched on this one, but I’ll reiterate. Have things to do that don’t involve work or responsibility. As I mentioned before: biking, playing video games, taking walks, or watching movies are all excellent ways to escape.
Know when to say enough
Your bosses, as awesome as they might be, don’t always work the same schedule you do. Most of them, as small business owners, are controlled completely by their business regardless of how successful they are. When that clock hits quitting time, you’re not obligated to answer their phone calls and emails unless you’re on call. Some bosses will take advantage of your willingness to handle vital office issues after-hours by bugging you with every little problem they may have. Don’t let them.
Enjoy yourself at work, too
Of course you’re not going to show up at work in a tank top, baggy shorts, and Lugz just because you’re sick of wearing a suit and tie (unless you’re having a breakdown, then just don’t shoot up the place and I think everyone will be OK). Be friendly with your coworkers, joke around, incorporate your weekends and after-hours activities in to your interactions with employees (stay within the confines of the law and corporate policy, of course). No one likes chatting up the guy with no personality, right?
Most of this stuff may seem obvious, but it’s not to everyone. The key is finding ways to live your life outside of work without including alcohol and other controlled substances in your evenings. Deal with stress, don’t drink it away.