When the inevitable question of “what do you do?” comes up, I have options. Often, I simply go with, “I’m a writer.” Then I watch and wait as the people I’m talking to go far away in their minds, picturing calm mornings, tea, and perhaps a little purring writing partner. “Oh, so you’re working toward your novel then?” they wonder aloud. “Oh, no. I write ads. I’m a copywriter.” The sun-kissed mornings and wicker garden chairs flash from their minds. Booze, coffee, and cigarettes come rushing in. “So, your life is like…Mad Men?”
This is the perception. But how far off is it? This industry is still overflowing with sexism, alcoholism, and blurred morals. In a world where it’s more acceptable to start drinking at your desk than it is to take a longer lunch so you can go for a run, it’s a challenge to maintain a healthy balance. People seem to think I’m lying when I tell them that 12-hour work days are the norm. When my friends text me to hang out, they never understand: “How are you STILL working?!”
Can I be creatively satisfied at work and keep sane hours? Can I maintain a healthy diet while horking down take out dinners during long work nights? Can I advance in my career and still keep healthy relationships outside of work?
This is my struggle to find balance.
(Image from http://madmenwiththingsdrawnonthem.tumblr.com)