November 30, 2021

Recognising when you're overworked and asking for help

Here's how Ben got through a tough time of overworking.

Since I was 16, I have always worked weekend jobs alongside studying. Even through university where I worked weekends whilst getting my degree. Six years very quickly went by of my time in London and I decided to leave my second architecture degree behind, as I wasn’t enjoying it.

I’d like to think a strong work ethic is something that my family taught me (hey Dad!) from a young age, so managing a 20 hour a week job alongside my intense studies was always just something that I ‘had’ to do.

When I decided to leave my studies mid-pandemic, I was heavily reliant on increasing my hours at my weekend job to support me until I figured out what I wanted to do. Things took a turn, and due to COVID, waiting wasn’t possible. I had to get another job in a local supermarket to make up the pay and worked nights.

Both jobs ran over 7 days. I worked like that for about 6 months. I look back at the immense pressure and strain that I was putting my body through; it was unhealthy.

It was constant work. Non-stop.

It was during this time that my mental health took a huge decline. The pressure of dropping out of university, working 7 days, not knowing what my future would be, all built up.

I opened up to some friends and decided to look into counselling. That was a game-changer and something that I will always appreciate. I recommend it to anyone who is struggling or needs to clear their head.

There’s something about talking, verbally opening up and saying what is on your mind that is so liberating. It really shifts things and allows you to step out of your body and look at things from another perspective.

Weeks after starting this, I was offered a job at Tahora to lead their Community and Events.

The key thing here is that I asked.

I asked to be considered for the role, although knowing it would be a huge risk for Tahora to take me on.

I demonstrated an eagerness to learn, being open-minded, and most importantly curiosity to both founders Ben and Mike whilst chatting.

This was such a miracle for me, after always wanting to know more about the world of startups and entrepreneurship.

Long gone were the days of working non-stop. I finally had my weekends free, and a sense of purpose with my career. I must thank Mike, too, for our weekly catch-ups. He was always there to listen and support me throughout my counselling.

Fast forward (almost) a year, and I'm now leading on all things Creative at Tahora, heavily supporting the product and making some pretty big impact with the team.

I was hesitant to share this story, so much so that I wrote it all at the very last minute, but I hope some people learn from this.

All you gotta do is ask.