October 2018 Update: Work-Life Balance
I’ve been thinking about the concept of work-life balance. For a lot of people who work in the anime industry, it’s non-existent, and not just because they work for punishingly long hours. Many people get into anime because it’s a vocation, so they’re okay with making it their entire lives. Even when they’re off the job, they’re still thinking about anime.
If you’re a freelancer, the flexibility of your schedule can compound this tendency even further. You can’t finish your overtime work and walk out the office door as you hear your colleagues say “otsukaresama desu!” behind you and know, finally, that work for the day is done. If you’re really passionate about what you do and a freelancer, chances are you’re a workaholic. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
This month, I took around two weeks off work to visit the UK. Originally, I was only going to go there for Scotland Loves Anime because of work, but I’m really glad I extended the trip and decided to do no writing in the UK at all. I don’t get paid enough to have anime on the brain all the time. Of course, it did mean that I’ve had a lot of work to do ever since getting back, but it’s been worth it.
My readers: If you work in the kind of job where you have to take a lot of business trips, how much time do you get for yourself? And when do you decide that it’s time for a break?
Also, freelancers: I hope you’re reflecting on the amount of work you do! Don’t be afraid to charge more for your work if your hourly earnings aren’t up to snuff!
This blog post is getting preachy but that’s only because I have to drum these lessons into my brain, too. Next month, I’ll start working longer hours, and I’ll make sure to actually sit down and schedule my hours to make sure that I don’t accidentally work more hours than I’m supposed to. “Wait, you weren’t doing that already?” you might ask, to which I have nothing to say but “Tehehe!”
Further evidence that I am stupid when it comes to managing my time: I was at Dengeki Bunko’s Fall Festival reporting on this story about Sword Art Online‘s new Twitter marketing campaign the night before my early-morning flight to England. Thank god Lynzee offered to write the article itself.
It’s not just about me, though. I’m one of the milder cases. As anime becomes more global, in terms of both consumption and production, the issues around Japanese work culture can no longer be swept under the rug. I’ve gotten into a habit of asking creators about it whenever I prepare interview questions. That’s something to look forward to in interviews published in the coming months!
But for now, here’s the refreshingly short list of articles I wrote this month:
For further reading about work-life balance on this blog, I previously covered this topic in a Hisone and Masotan post.