As he sat at his laptop on a current Sunday afternoon making ready for the workweek forward, Jonathan Frostick, a program supervisor at an funding financial institution in London, stated he couldn’t breathe. His chest tightened and his ears began to pop. He was having a coronary heart assault.
His first ideas had been of how this could disrupt his work life.
“I wanted to satisfy with my supervisor tomorrow,” Mr. Frostick, who works for HSBC, wrote in a submit on LinkedIn. “This isn’t handy.”
Later, as he convalesced in a hospital mattress, Mr. Frostick started to look at his life, he wrote. Beneath a photograph of himself in his hospital mattress, he posted new vows for his life going ahead:
“I’m not spending all day on Zoom anymore.”
“I’m restructuring my strategy to work.”
He would not put up with office drama. “Life is just too quick,” he wrote.
Lastly: “I wish to spend extra time with my household.”
Since he described his epiphany every week in the past, his submit has been favored over 200,000 instances. It has obtained greater than 10,000 feedback from readers describing how their very own brushes with loss of life had led them to step again from work and take inventory of the best way they’d been dwelling their lives.
The submit resonated at a time when weary individuals the world over are experiencing ennui, dread and more work-related stress during the coronavirus pandemic.
Even those who have been lucky enough to keep their jobs have questioned their purpose in life as they spend long hours on Zoom calls and answer emails into the night.
At the same time, employees who have managed to strike a better balance between their jobs and their personal lives during the pandemic are now reckoning with a return to the office, causing them to re-evaluate how much time they want to dedicate to work.
“I know countless people in the last few years who have suffered life-threatening illnesses just simply because there is no downtime — always on call,” a management consultant from Alberta, Canada, wrote in reply to Mr. Frostick’s post. “It’s absolutely detrimental to our health, but we’re built on the existence that we always have to keep pushing.”
Another person described how she had became so burned out at work that she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
“I relate, bro,” wrote a self-described entrepreneur from Nigeria who said he had sold his multiple cars and homes to lead a happier, more “Spartan” life. “Bro, welcome to the real life. Now you’ll truly, truly live.”
Today in Business
Others offered him tips on how to lose weight — Mr. Frostick also vowed to drop 15 kilograms — or asked him to appear on their podcasts so he might share his story with their listeners.
Beyond compensation and professional status, a job provides social rewards, like praise from colleagues and supervisors, that can become addictive, said Glen Kreiner, a professor of management at the University of Utah.
People become so protective of the identity a job creates for them that they will work long, arduous hours, without pausing to consider if they are happy or fulfilled, to protect it, Professor Kreiner said.
“We as humans tend to be mindless instead of mindful,” he said. “When we’re in a mindless state, we’re on autopilot.”
Professor Kreiner added: “Sometimes, that’s why it takes a catastrophe like this to break us out of autopilot.”
Mr. Frostick did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
Before the heart attack, Mr. Frostick had been working 12-hour days, he said, missing his colleagues and suffering from the isolation of working from home.
“We’re not able to have those other conversations off the side of a desk or by the coffee machine, or take a walk and go and have that chat,” Mr. Frostick told Bloomberg. “That has been quite profound, not just in my work, but across the professional-services industry.”
Robert A. Sherman, a spokesman for HSBC, said the company had communicated to employees the importance of balancing work with healthy lifestyles.
“We all wish Jonathan a full and speedy recovery,” he said in an email. “We also recognize the importance of personal health and well-being and a good work-life balance. The response to this topic shows how much this is on people’s minds, and we are encouraging everyone to make their health and well-being a top priority.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Frostick thanked the thousands of people who had written him and wrote that he was now able to move around his house for two to three hours at a time.
Later, he wrote another post that indicated he had moved from soul-searching to trying to answer profound philosophical questions.
“Who am I? It’s like a riddle my mind cannot solve,” he wrote. “I have no idea who I am anymore. This is going to take some time … Can you answer who you are?”