Still, With the Work Life Balance Question
For some reason in the past week, both my LinkedIn and my Facebook feeds have been flooded with questions around the work life balance phenomenon. It’s interesting, only because I thought the term “work life balance” had been thrown out a few years ago in favor of the work life integration mantra, however, here we are still struggling with the same teeter totter question.
The world does not need another term to discuss the same concept of creating a meaningful existence where enjoyment exists amongst all areas of an individual’s life. Instead, the Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers need to join the millennials on blending the different areas of their lives.
Forbes will tell you, “Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers need to join the millennials on blending the different areas of their lives.”
Let’s get something straight from the outset: You only have one life, so as long as you are breathing, you are living, even when you are at work. There is no time where you stop living in order to work, and by some extension you also never stop working in order to live. It’s a continuum. You will be working while living and living while working for the rest of your life.
Life Does Not End at Retirement
What about retirement? Retirement is included in this question too. Most of us, who are worth our salt, and serious about leaving the world better than we left it, aren’t going to leave full time employment just to let our brains turn to mush until the old ticker stops. No, after your first, second, third or fourth career wraps up, you may slow down, yes, but bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, and surprisingly the science holds up for the brain as well.
If your mind is working and your contributions are of value, isn’t that the working definition of “work”?
Retired doesn’t mean dead. Work will look different (volunteer opportunities, part time work, sitting on corporate or non profit boards, mentoring etc), but it doesn’t truly stop. If your mind is working and your contributions are of value, isn’t that the working definition of “work”?
Work/Life. Work is Life. Life’s Work. Life Works.
This is an excerpt of the post as I first saw it on LinkedIn:
Never mind the fact that study after study has demonstrated that productivity declines when the work week exceeds 50 hours, or the sage advice of Dale Carnegie and Stephen Covey to “sharpen the saw”. I am a firm believer in Parkinson’s law and the notion that work will shrink or expand according to the time allotted for it. I spoke about this phenomenon at length in my Pimp that Resume article a few months ago.
The work- life balance conversation is a dialogue about whether you are living the life you want and defending the vision of your life with integrity.
This has never been a conversation about hours, but because it’s tangible, that’s what the conversation is reduced to. No, the work- life balance conversation is a dialogue about whether you are living the life you want and defending the vision of your life with integrity.
Rules To Live (and Work) By
When a similar query regarding work life balance popped up a few days later via my Facebook network, I found myself ready for a much less elaborate response:
- love what you do
- keep your priorities straight
- set boundaries early and say no often.
- get a job that respects those boundaries and complements your life.
In short, stop asking permission to live your life. Stop making other peoples’ priorities an excuse to reneg on the promises you made to yourself. If you are passionate about what you are doing, doing a lot of it won’t feel like a sacrifice. You reserve the right to say no. You also reserve the right to change your job and your life at any time.
Struggling to follow through on any of these four things? Let’s talk about that, because the power in the work/life conversation comes from the owner of the work and the owner of the life (ahem, . . . you).