I struggle with work/life balance.
Just saying that outloud I hear my friends disagree with me, that I do a fine job of making my life the best it can be. For now, we will ignore them.
First of all, what defines work/life balance? Does it even exist?
According to Wikipedia, “Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between ‘work”‘(career and ambition) and ‘lifestyle’…”
Some working women tell me this is impossible while others exclaim they are the queens of balancing work and life. In fact, there is a website devoted to the subject, www.worklifebalance.com, and they claim, “Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance.”
I find this both interesting, sad, and hopeful. Better put, this statement reminds me how much reality sucks sometimes. We Americans work so many more hours than we spend doing anything else in our lifetime. I know you feel this more than you need proof, dear American comrades, but for those who love statistics or need them for your next Trivia Night, according to this Boston Globe article, 1 in 4 Americans don’t get paid time off. Check it out and cross-reference here, all the happy countries across the globe get all kinds of mandated paid time off.
Could this be a strong correlation? Do we Yankees need to spend more time with our families, out in nature, and (some of you will shake your fist at this) government paid health care? I only mention that since the happiest countries tend to be Norway and Denmark.
Or the lovely devil’s advocate asks the inevitable question, “Does work hurt our happiness?” or “Do more of us need to love what we do for work?” Then of course the logical question follows, “How do/can we all find work that makes us happy?”
If Mike Rowe from the Dirty Jobs TV show were draining a pint with us while we discussed this, he might tell us to grow a pair and get to work. A guy decided to ask him for advice, as you probably saw from friends spreading it around Facebook, but just in case you missed it, I highly recommend you read his response.
In other words, we pansy ass thirty-something’s gotta get our heads out of the clouds and stop dreaming about the perfect job while sitting on the lawn chair watching the grass grow. Yet, obviously, somehow this work/life balance concept depresses a lot of us 8-to-5-ers, driving to and from some desk job pondering above our Pandora radio if life could be better, if a job exists that makes you leap for joy or pound your chest with pride. After all, we ARE spending most of our life doing said task until we get hit by a car or, dread, wait for our piddly Social Security check in our older years.
Why else would these cool start up company’s start decorating their offices with creativity and comfort in mind? Why should a company care if their employees are happy? Simple. You heard this before. Happy workers make happy customers (which translates to better sales and improved growth).
OK… pizza is done. This topic is to be continued…. In the meantime, please share your thoughts.