During the years between 2012 and 2013 I had been working at a Port in Dampier, Western Australia where Iron Ore was exported overseas. My role description during this period was Maintenance Support Superintendent, was accountable to ensure the safe and efficient execution of a maintenance shutdown during a scheduled shut period.
Whilst I found the role to be satisfying by achieving both personal goals and company KPI’s, I found this role to be very demanding and highly stressful which was taking its toll on my health and mental wellbeing. Long working hours was not restricted to my workplace for my home was to evolve from being what was always a sacred family domain to a home office. The demand did not discriminate a day of the week nor a time of day. It was not uncommon to be called during the night, early in the morning or weekends. Time management had become unmanageable and my work / life balance crept towards 80% work / 20% home life. When I was writing this, I thought to myself that 20% home life sounds pretty good, what am I complaining about however my wife Donna kindly reminded me that there is a difference between being home in body and being home in body, mind and spirit. Its true, although I was physically at home I was never really present. My head was deep inside my work laptop, my work blackberry, both on the phone and checking emails. Lets not forget my blackberry phone had a prompting red light to remind me that I have an urgent message.
On the 18th April 2013, I had endured a long and eventful day which had me driving into my driveway at 20:00pm (approximately a 14.5 hour day). I remember sitting in the work vehicle, parked in the driveway having a conversation with a work colleague before hanging up and feeling comatose for approximately 10 minutes. Knowing that I needed to get out of the vehicle and go inside for dinner whilst very inviting I felt that I couldn’t move a muscle for a short time. Pure mental and physical exhaustion is how I would describe the way I felt.
Once inside our house I said hello to everyone, had dinner, had a shower and continued to work from home. I went to bed at approximately 23:00pm. Considering I was on my work laptop and blackberry whilst inside my home between 20:00pm – 23:00pm attending issues that had to be addressed right then, the day I suppose ends up being more like a 17.5 hour day.
Looking back now, its really not good for your mental health and wellbeing.