“You look tired!”
I hear this comment more times a day than any other. It trumps “I love you” from my boyfriend, “do you ever show up on time?” from my officemates, and “please see below” from every e-mail forwarded from my supervisor. I hear it from clients, coworkers, my boss, and random passersby on the street. Its time knows no limits — my ears are ringing with this comment at 8 a.m., noon, and 4:30 p.m. I hear it when I drag myself into work and I hear it when I go home and throw myself into leggings and a top bun. To everyone who tells me that I look tired, I have a message for you:
I look tired because I am exhausted all of the time.
There is never a moment that I’m not exhausted. I wake up at 5:00 a.m., get a cup of Keurig coffee while I wait for my pot of coffee to brew, check e-mails from my boss, shower (bonus points if I remember to shave both legs), refill my coffee, respond to e-mails from my boss, take out the dog, drive to work while trying not to stab my eye out with my mascara wand, hold meetings, try to catch up on the onslaught of emails that came during my meetings, use my lunch to take the dog out again, hold more meetings, stay late at work, get halfway caught up on emails while driving home, multitask cleaning and cooking dinner while barely accomplishing either, eat in bed while responding to more emails, take the dog out again, and fall asleep to an old episode of Mad Men with my iPad on my lap while waiting on yet another email response.
In an effort to keep my apartment halfway presentable, actually succeed at my job, and take care of another living creature, I live my life like I’m starring in The Walking Dead. Come in early for a 7 a.m. meeting? Sure. Happy hour with the coworkers after a long day? Why not. Meet up with friends for dinner? Yeah, ok. Each of these things I will happily do, but for every additional commitment, I find myself mentally checking off the hours of sleep I know I won’t get again tonight.
Oh sure, we have the weekends to “catch up.” But between cleaning and getting life in order from the week, running all of the errands you don’t have time for Monday through Friday, meal prep, gym, and trying to get ahead on your work e-mails, how much time do you really have? Yeah, it’s probably negative. Weekends are just the workdays of your home life, and the more you accomplish, the more your “regrouping” time dwindles away.
Doctors say you should get eight hours of sleep a night, but only babies, teenagers, and college students know that’s possible. If you get a full night’s sleep, things start getting cut. Forget doing the dishes, the laundry will remain unfolded, and your friends will think you’ve died for all the time you see them. Your relationships suffer, e-mails start going unnoticed, and soon you’ll be unemployed, where you can finally appear well-rested. Sure, I could get eight hours of sleep every night. But my life would also completely fall apart, and that’s just not a risk I’m willing to take.
So yes, dear coworker, friend, or random acquaintance, I look tired, and that’s because I AM tired. You have made “you look tired” the “it’s raining outside” of the physical appearance genre of office smalltalk. I’d bet that the majority of the people who are succeeding in your office look tired. Guess what? They’re exhausted too. While you nap away and watch Netflix on your self-given hour and a half lunch break, the rest of us are holding the world together so that you can slack off to the level you think you deserve. No judgment — you do you — but for the love of god, please stop informing me that I don’t look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I appreciate your attempt at small talk, but when your idea of interoffice relationships is telling me how terrible I look for doing my job, I think I’ll pass..
Image via Shutterstock