Robert Pileggi, LCSW Rotating Header Image

“I ‘have’ to work late” & Valuing Life

“I have to work late.”

I hear clients say that when they tell me they’re intending to cancel a session.

And I wonder – do you really “have” to work late? Or are you just letting someone else’s desire or request come before your personal health?

And I wonder this authentically. I used to tell myself “I have to work late” all the time when I worked for non-profit organizations. “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done…we’re short staffed and I have to help…only just this once…if I say ‘no thanks’ will my boss fire me?” The versions of “I have to work late” are many.  Ah, to think of all the missed dinners with friends; the missed sunsets; the missed times with my partner. One can not re-do, so I do not regret as much as use those experiences as motivation to not make the same choice again.

My practice (and suggestion) is:

1. Take full responsibility for my action. “I am choosing to work late instead of honoring my appointment with ______ .” (Even if a boss is asking or telling me to work late, it’s still my choice.)

2. Consciously consider my decision. Ask myself: “Do I really need to work late?” (And sometimes, yes, it can make life better for me and others if I work late.)

3. Consider the value I have on my Life as I choose whether or not to work or to honor some other part of my life. “Does working late honor my Life?”

Work may be deeply meaningful or enjoyable.

AND there are other aspects to being alive – like caring for the body/mind/heart/spirit, nurturing relationships, honoring commitments to others and to our own healing.

Practice: Next time you are about to say, “I have to work late,” say to yourself:

  1. I am choosing to work late.
  2. Do I really need to work late?
  3. Does working late honor and value my Life?

Then make a fully responsible, empowered decision about the next right action.