You get to work when it’s dark as night and you don’t leave until it feels like dawn’s just around the corner. Daylight is a luxury. In the few hours of “free time” that you have, your mind worries at unfinished projects and impending deadlines. Movies, conversations, and errands slide by in a blur. You work for the weekend and then wind up working on the weekend. You are completely reliable and available at all times. You are drinking and making the kool-aid. You, my friend, are a “suitcase.”
Joining the illustrious company of other well-known “cases” (basket case, headcase, etc.), the suitcase is the corporate muscle that makes no distinction between work and life. They often only wear suits (or pants suits) to work and live out of suitcases because they’re on the road so frequently for work. In fact, suitcases have been known to miss their work while on vacation. Fear not, fellow travelers, this is a curable affliction.
I should point out that being a suitcase, as I’ve defined it, is not inherently bad. If you love your job enough to be happy in this routine, then more power to you. But, if in the course of reading this, you have realized that you are an unwilling suitcase, I’ve got some tips for how you can ditch the stiffs and change your scene.
- Go on vacation. A few days away might be just what you need to downshift. Go off-grid, too, because nothing sabotages this cleansing ritual like getting a call from the office or reading work emails on your iPhone. Time for contemplation is important, but make sure you stay busy doing interesting things or your mind will wander back to what’s happening in the office.
- Do something wildly outside your comfort zone. Test your limits. Go skydiving or scuba diving. What about mountain climbing? Go with the chef’s choice sushi platter. Whatever perforates your comfort zone, bite the bullet and do it. A jolt of fear might be just what you need to hop the tracks.
- Lose control. Being a suitcase and unrelenting self control go hand-in-hand. Get blindingly drunk. Let someone else plan a trip for you. Hell, let someone else drive the car for once. I’m not recommending that you do something reckless that could result in personal bodily harm. You’re seeking that fleeting moment of liberation so you know what it looks like and can find it again later.
- Go on a spur of the moment road trip. Maybe you just found out your favorite band is playing…on the other coast. Who cares! Get in the car and drive. Few things feel as good as seizing the reins and twisting your schedule to your desires.
- Take a sick day. If the previous tips can’t work, at least call in sick. You are sick, after all. Spend the day focused on identifying what matters to you.
Maybe it’s the holidays that makes us reflect, but there’s no better time of year to reassess your situation and commit to changing it if it’s not your ideal. The suitcase mentality is extremely easy to gradually fall into. One morning you wake up and realize you are living to work. Every morning thereafter is a chance to wake up and wake up.
Are you a suitcase? Ex-suitcase? How did you make the change?