Kelvin Chong is a manager in the transactional services division at Robert Walters in Hong Kong.
I left my stressful marketing job three months ago to take on a similar role with significantly less responsibility and stress, and almost the same pay. I thought it would be great to be rid of many of the management responsibilities I’d had and have a better work-life balance, but I’m actually quite bored and missing being more of a decision maker. There is a chance I might be able to get my old job back and it’s becoming more appealing to do so. But I can’t help thinking I’m forgetting all the things that caused me to leave in the first place. Would I be making a big mistake by going back?
It’s always a dilemma choosing between work-life balance and a challenging and interesting career. This is a particularly common topic among people at management level. As we progress and climb up the career ladder, we will be assigned more responsibilities and the pressure and stress adds up.
However, it’s also a sign of your company showing recognition for your ability and achievements. It is obvious that you had proven yourself in your previous company and therefore were given the role of being a decision maker.
However, do keep in mind that apart from career development and personal growth, going to work and job hunting are also about understanding the priorities in your life. In the future, when you look back on your career, will you be happy with memories of being put under a lot of pressure, working overtime and having many sleepless nights just to get a promotion?
I am sure with your background there will be plenty of opportunities on the market where you can utilise your skills and experience. From a personal point of view, we all have different priorities at different stages of life, be it family, health or relationships. It’s very important for professionals to understand what their priorities are so they can fine tune what they want to do in their next role.
It’s clear to me that you have been holding back about going back to your previous job due to the stress. Therefore I suggest you to sit down and think through your priorities before rushing to make any decisions.
You can also have catch-up with your supervisor to discuss your current job nature and express your interest in taking on more responsibilities. I am sure they will be delighted to know about your enthusiasm to do more and you might be pleasantly surprised by their response. Communication is key towards a successful and rewarding career.
However, if you never ask, your supervisor might never know about your frustrations and will assume that you are happy with your current role.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Can your work-life balance tip too far the right way?