If you are in the corporate world or work at all for that matter, I’m sure you have heard the term “work-life balance” at some point in your career. This is definetly important. If you are still in school or college, you’ll need to confront your self with this term at some point. What it means is basically prioritizing between your “work”, whatever your career and ambitions in earning a living may be versus the “life”-style part of it, meaning family, free time, your health, pleasure, development, etc. This has been something I have had to learn as well.
My mentality is this. Whoever (person or company) I work for pays me a salary so I can eat, live and enjoy life will receive from me, full working capability and loyalty. This encompasses a lot! Let’s not be naive here. I am not saying I automatically sign off to become a butler for that specific entity. What I am saying is that whoever offers me something and I accept, than I believe you work your heart out to the fullest to do a more than good job.
I have held many jobs over the past 15 years however my current corporate company has been my longest tenure. The same principle goes with it. This is where “work-life” balance comes into play. When I first started, I started at the very bottom and because I chose my ambition and career over a lot of other things, investing easy 70-80 hour work weeks I managed to move myself into a position today that is significantly higher in the chain than most people who have 15 or 20 years tenures, and that in less than 7 years. However that does come with a price. Something I have learned is to maintain that “work-life” balance more properly because in the end, there is a difference between investing your life into a business (especially if its not your own) versus that which the business returns to you.
If you are already in the workforce than a few things that I note here may relate to you and if you are on your way there than perhaps this may be some learning for you to take away and ponder about what you really want to do. The problem with so called work-life balance today is that technology makes it so much easier to be accessible around the clock. Whether that’s simply having a mobile phone to be reachable with, or your notebook or tablet to access and check email. Along with that we as a society are moving not only into a more globalized and accessible world, we are moving into a more competitive, often saturated marketplace that is now shifting companies into becoming second homes. What do I mean? We went from no labor laws during the industrial revolution to more sophisticated manners of established ways of doing business including working hours, compensation, agreements, etc. to now an era where we are shifting back to industrial revolution periods but on the basis that we as the workforce accept these terms willingly, because companies are now our second home. Work is easier to access through technology, companies offering benefits like, meals and healthcare and a hair salon in the lobby along with the fear of loosing ones job due to outsourcing, competitive market conditions, etc. On top of that you may have ambitions to become CEO one day if you are in the business world. Which brings in your ambition to work even more. However life is more than just working.
The non-stop compounding stress from the never-ending workday can and will hurt everything else in your life. From relationships to health to your overall happiness. And yes, work-life balance may mean something else for you than it does for me however I believe that we all agree that maintaining a healthy work environment to allow you to live the life you want to live is the key factor. When I worked 70ish hours a week, was I happier? Not really. I was satisfied with myself that I had proven to myself that I could do something and “push” so much off my table at any given time and yes I was happy to get promotions and more pay, however not enjoying those moments and utilizing that I had more did not make me happier. I was not paying much detailed attention to the “life” part of the equation. That being said, I have learned that I do not “live to work”, rather I “work to live.” And depending where you are in life you too should evaluate both sides of the scale. Its ok to be ambitious and move up the career ladder, however how much in life are you willing to sacrifice for that. What do you get in return. When you lay on your death bed, your last breathes, that last minute in life, will you look back saying you lived it to the fullest? Or will you regret that you didn’t tackle your bucket list of life. Work hard, work efficient, work honestly for whoever is paying you fairly, but also note that you take that and do that to live. To enjoy moments in life and create memories. Its not all about business. Disconnect. Travel, Exercise. Mediate. Build relationships. Educate yourself. Read more. Enjoy your hobbies. That is the beauty of life. It is your choice!
Here is an interesting Ted talk as well on the topic: