There was an article a while ago with Marissa Mayer’s thoughts on work life balance. Essentially it was that long hours were fine, as long as you didn’t miss out on things that would make you resent it.
I try and work manageable (sustainable!) hours but sometimes my work gets prioritised over my life. And my view is that sometimes that just is my job. Sometimes my job is to be in New York and I happen to get stuck in a snow storm and miss my ski vacation. Sometimes it’s to work over the weekend to get something out, or to stay late because someone needs something finished. That’s just how it is.
But for me, resentment is tired to outcomes. I won’t resent long hours leading up to a launch, because yay! Launch! But I might if that launch gets cancelled, or delayed, especially if those reasons are ones I don’t agree with, or think could have been addressed in advance. And if I was putting in long hours to show that I deserved something, or was ready for something, and I didn’t get it I might well resent that, too.
I’m acutely aware of the stats that say women are likely to drop out within the first 10 years, and for a while now I have been convinced that yes, I will be one of them (a non-techie friend was horrified by this stat, and pointed out that that is a shorter career than a professional footballer). So sometimes I feel like, time is limited, put career first, and other times I consider that when the end does come, I’ll need to have other things in my life or it will feel very empty.
The other thing, is when you make a big choice where you prioritise your career over your life, or vice versa (like when moving) is even when it’s on the whole a good decision, there will be days when something goes wrong and you doubt it. When you imagine the road not taken, and wonder. When your heart breaks all over again, for whatever it was that you gave up.
I think this is normal. This is the cost of an interesting life. The price of increased options is having to make (sometimes really hard!) choices between them. It’s the curse of knowing what is out there, and what you’re missing out on… and what you gave up.