Dream job has no work/life balance, how should I proceed? Do I stick it out?

I began working at what I thought was my dream company about six months ago. Prior to this, I was working in the government sector doing related work in the industry. I love what I did prior to this job, but I left because I kept getting more work on my plate and when I asked for a raise and reclassification, they essentially strung me along for a year and never followed through, so I sought work elsewhere. Additionally, I was paid lower than my team’s lowest performer. Unfortunately, this is pretty typical of government work.

I felt that I really lucked out when a recruiter contacted me for this company, the catch was that this was a contract to hire job. So there was no guarantee I would be converted to FTE, but I took the chance because it was a lot more money and I believe in my abilities.

Fast forward; there’s an opportunity within my company that I’m willing to relocate for, so I get converted to FTE. At the same time, the project I’m managing ramps up and the software team that built the project leaves me on my own. I provide support for the software, but I’m left with something very buggy and in some ways not complete.

So now, my workload is insane. I’m working on site 5 days per week, minimum 50 hours. I struggle to get support on issues that I cannot fix on my own (engineering fixes, bug fixes), and I’m training users and ingesting foot traffic while trying to put out fires. Even on weekends I still need to sign in remotely to not be drowning in my work.

Yesterday, I had requested 3 hours of PTO for an appointment, which I was granted. During this time, I began getting paged for incidents. My support is for emergency services, so urgent support tickets cannot typically wait over the weekend. At this point it dawns on me that without overtly telling me I’ll be supporting the department 24/7, this appears to be the expectation. Despite being out of office, all of my notifications saying so, no one steps in to help without me telling them hours later that I’m incapacitated and received an angry email regarding the support request.

My body has taken such a toll in this brief time from all of the stress. I’m struggling to see if I have made the right choice and I’m really scared to relocate if this was not a good move for me. Part of my wants to stick it out and see, but the longer I do this, the closer we get to a deadline of having to pack and move states, this should happen early next year.

I worry about talking to my boss about work life balance as someone new at this company, also knowing that she is a workaholic type. Faults and all, my previous job, I clocked my 40 hours, I worked 4x 10’s and my time off was always respected. Now, I don’t know what personal time is anymore. Is this what the private sector is like? I’m not sure what I should do. I hate the idea of quitting and not even having a whole year under my belt, I hate the idea of my dream company not being my dream company, I hate the idea of telling another company why I’m considering leaving a job I’ve only spent 6 months at in interviews. But I also feel physically and emotionally depleted. It’s worth noting I have done a really good job at my job, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback and I am an asset to the team, but at what cost?

Do I stick this out? Do I start looking elsewhere? How do you start a conversation about work life balance eloquently?

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