You wrote my life. I’ve done the same workaholic thing many times — once with a startup. But, to make it worse, I did not get the raises and promotions and still I stayed. Sometimes I felt invisible. I was taken for granted and unnoticed because I was always there, like the carpeting. The appreciation for me came after I would leave a job. I would run into a former boss or employer and he/she would say something like, “I am lost without you. I never realized how much work you did and how much I depended on you until you left.”
Now I have my own business and many of my former employers are my clients. I still work long hours, but it’s different. I have some control. I know it is for me and not just for them. Still, I am reaching a point where I realize I have fallen into the same trap — work has become my life. I am finally at a financial spot where I don’t have to worry so much about money coming in and I plan to cut on my number of clients this summer. I know I can pick and choose who to keep based on who values and appreciates me.
I am glad you moved on. I hope your next chapter of life is more fulfilling.