What is your opinion about sense of duty? When I think about it and which part it plays in my life, I have mixed feelings. Today, I want to write about what effect it has on me and what to do about it.
I consider myself a person who finishes a task when assigned, or when I said I will do it. I want to be seen as reliable and that people can trust me. I will finish the task, even if I don’t like it. I know that this is a part of every job. There are always tasks which I won’t like, but which needs to be done. However, I think there is a limit as with everything else.
Let’s take the example of a job. Of course, you have a contract and an obligation to do the work you are assigned to do, and which is written in your contract. But, what if you are physically or mentally not able to perform the task, as you could or want? Then, the sense of duty leads to feelings of guilt. But what most do is to try harder and harder to life up to our sense of duty. What we neglect are the costs that might come along. We all have only so much resources, and if we demand from our body and mind more than we can give for a long period of time, it will take its toll.
I think that, at times, we have to ask ourselves how far we want to go? Doing everything right or trying to meet everyone’s expectations can be stressful. Sometimes, it may be wise to think about yourself first. And no, that is not a call to be more selfish. At least not in general. But when you feel that you have to fight every single day to meet deadlines, and you have trouble sleeping, or you feel exhausted constantly, then maybe it is time to say stop and take care of yourself first.
I mean this should be in the interest of the company, too. Of course, I can pressure my employee to finish the task(s) in order to meet deadlines, but how sustainable and also how human is that? I think not so much. Those employees will either quit (best case scenario for the company and the employee), they will mentally resign (not good for company and not good for employee), or they will go into burn out or maybe even depression (worst case scenario for both company as well as employee).
So, I argue that you should take care of you first until you are fully recovered again. No matter what that means in your case. You have only this one life to live and you have a responsibility towards yourself. Life is too precious to go through it like a zombie. Doing your job, but not really living.
Of course, there are cases which are more difficult to handle. For example, if you have children. But even then, there are ways to handle it. Maybe you can ask friends or relatives for help. Or maybe you can even speak to your children. This depends on their age of course, but even young children are very good at understanding things. And, maybe you have a partner and you can ask him or her for help, too. But your children also need their father or mother at his/her best.
So, please let your sense of duty not pull you down and do things you don’t want are not capable of doing.
Please take care of yourself and have a wonderful life!