FORT WAYNE, IN—Lamenting that there are only so many hours in the day to devote to his various stresses, local Epione Medical Instruments sales manager and father of two Dale Humphrey told reporters Friday that he continues to have difficulty striking a proper work-anxiety–life-anxiety balance.
“It seems like I’m always so busy dwelling on the countless dilemmas that come up in the office that I barely have any time to stress over the problems facing me at home,” said Humphrey, 38, noting that the demands of worrying about work leave him precious little time to worry about his family, health, and finances. “I mean, most weekdays I’ll stay late agonizing over whether I’ll be able to meet my quarterly sales target, so when I get home I barely have enough energy to obsess over whether we’re saving enough to put Ryan and Jessica through college.”
“I just wish I had the time to freak out about both my job and my personal life without feeling like I’m neglecting the other,” Humphrey added.
Explaining that he has been unable to maintain a proper harmony between the ceaseless, nerve-racking anxieties plaguing his work and home life for many years now, Humphrey admitted that when choosing between tormenting himself with workplace uncertainties or the numerous difficulties facing him outside the office, he almost always chooses torturing himself with work.
Specifically, Humphrey said his concerns about his workload, the recent loss of one of Epione’s biggest clients, increased competition in the medical devices sector, and a looming wave of job cuts frequently force him to shortchange such sources of domestic unrest as his strained relationship with his children, his inability to refinance his home, his poor cholesterol, and the recent lack of intimacy between himself and his wife.
Humphrey told reporters that he dreams of the day when he has a 50/50 work-anxiety–life-anxiety balance, but said he’s so consumed with work putting him on edge that he just doesn’t think it’s possible.
“Even when I do have a wide-open weekend to just kick back and worry about my parents’ deteriorating health, most of the time I’ll feel guilty that I’m not stressing over our company’s budget shortfall,” Humphrey said, noting that he can’t even remember the last time he was able to have a panic attack about his insurmountable personal debt without his work-related doubts intruding on his thoughts. “Last summer we went camping, and rather than spend the week wondering about whether we could even afford a family vacation in the first place, I couldn’t stop poring over my past emails to my boss to make sure I hadn’t said anything that would offend him.”
“That’s just no way to live,” Humphrey continued.
While Humphrey said that his inability to maintain an anxiety-filled equilibrium in his professional and personal spheres was a source of frustration, he emphasized that he has made a conscious effort to fit both types of angst into his busy schedule.
“Even though I’m usually pretty swamped at work, sometimes I’ll just take 15 minutes out of my lunch break to lie down and obsess over my brother’s constant requests to borrow money,” Humphrey said while nervously drumming his fingers on a nearby table. “It’s not much, but when you fret over work as much as I do, it’s important to carve out a little time to freak out about your personal life whenever you can.”