Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Thursday - Work Life Balance

Today, unlike most Thursdays, I wanted to say a few things about work/life balance.

Like most other things in my life, balance is simplified to mean rights & obligations. You have obligations to fulfill, but you also have rights. Your work has a right to your best, your dedication, etc. It is, after all, what you're getting paid to do. It could easily be argued that payment is their obligation and your right for providing such work.

Similarly, your family (and your very self) have rights. Your children, for example, have a right from you as a parent. And you have an obligation back to them.

You see the pattern here, I'm sure; and I don't want to beat a dead horse.

Work-life balance, to me, is knowing when to tip one over the other and how often. There's no cookie-cutter everyday solution. Contrary to what some might believe, work/Life balance does not mean an equal balance. We all work very differently and have very different priorities.

You may have to work late one day, and that does not necessarily mean you leave early on another. It simply means that what you had at work warranted that. It also means that you may have to leave work early some days to take the kids to the movies or to do something family-oriented. Work/life balance means that you (or your boss) does not trivialize your family activities for their lack of "productivity" over work ones. It also means, in an environment where you don't get paid overtime but especially ones where you're often working late, you don't have to take vacation or unpaid time to leave those two or so hours early.

A workplace does not support work/life balance, for instance, if it expects that you stay late or come early as the common factor more than the exception, but has a problem with you leaving early when needed. Again, it's not a one-for-one relationship. Not every time you work extra, you leave early. It's about taking care of your obligations, and keeping your rights (and that of your loved ones') in mind. Vacation (paid time off) is an excellent way to reset things. Even if you only take one day. It helps recalibrate that relationship between the office and family.

A more detailed history of work/life balance can be found here.

Be true to your job, it's a part of who we are; but never as big a part as our family. Knowing how to balance the two should mean you're good at both jobs. That's the ultimate road to a peaceful mind and overall success.

I would love to hear your comments back on this.


JFlo said...

What is this "work life balance" you speak of????

Ahmadism said...

LOL. It's my way of saying things ought to be fair from all sides; imagine that, right?