The Big Debate: Would You Ditch Your Friends For Your Dream Job?

A new study shows that two thirds of women prioritise their careers over their social life - but is that the best way to get ahead?

You’re sat at your desk, typing frantically with one hand, sorting papers with the other. There’s a cup of tea next to your keyboard, but you can’t remember when you last took a sip. Hell, you can’t even remember when you last stood up. Then the cleaner turns the lights off.

And you suddenly realise it’s 10pm on a Friday night.

It sounds extreme, but for 66 per cent of women, their careers come first in their list of ‘life priorities’. Half of all managers work more than 40 hours a week, and increasing numbers of us are branching out from traditional office jobs, in favour of launching our own businesses or working on multiple projects at the same time. But instead of swapping a 9-5 for a pyjama-clad 11-3, they’re averaging lengthy work days that see them up at dawn, and working by laptop light long into the night.

And with those kind of hours, something has got to give.

But instead of opting out of their relationships, cutting back on those family phone calls, or popping their gym membership card in the fruit bowl and leaving it to gather six months’ of dust, they’re ditching their friends.

‘Somewhere along the way… I made a not-entirely-conscious decision to prioritize other areas of our life over frequent socializing,’ wrote Jessica Valenti in a recent article in the Guardian. ‘David Sedaris once wrote an essay that mentioned a theory of success based on a four-burner oven: one burner represents work, the others are family, friends and health. “In order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.’

But is your social life disposable? Ellie Nicholls, Senior Strategic Recruitment Manager for EY doesn’t think so.

‘Although your dream job may be a really important part of your life, it’s not the only part and maintaining friendships is vital to a good work/life balance,’ she says. ‘Building networks inside and outside of work is essential and friends are part of that network. They give you someone to bounce ideas off, get an external perspective on any issues you’re facing and help you to meet new and interesting people. You never know where your next opportunity or experience is going to come from.’

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