I don’t know when this happened, but I’ve noticed that people taking pride in not taking care of themselves. In their eyes, it’s a good thing to not get enough sleep. Gorging on fast food or grabbing lunch from a vending machine means that they are working hard. You hear these people bragging about not having time to work out. For them, not having a vacation or even several days off is a sign of success. Spending time with family often becomes a casualty in this particularly skewed world view. A lack of self-care becomes a badge of honor that they wear with pride.
I get it. America is built on the Puritan work ethic. Work is often more than a source of income. It becomes a central part of our identity. Even if you are just working a 40 hour work week, we spend more of our waking hours at work than we do with family.
Yet, is it really worth it? I’ve seen people with Badge of Honor syndrome lose their marriages, strain the relationship with their kids and even have strokes and panic attacks at work. I even had one boss who bragged about working through her health crisis.
The manager who lost her marriage, lost her precious job six months later. The one who sacrificed time with her kids for this massive project she was working on, didn’t receive the accolades or the promotion she wanted. The boss with the health crisis was forced out of her job and continues to overwork herself at her new job.
All of these women get a lot of satisfaction from their work. While satisfaction of work is a priority, it shouldn’t be the only one. You should have a life outside of work and taking care of yourself makes your work life and the rest of your life run that much more smoothly.
A life well lived is the real Badge of Honor.