Work/life balance is a sneaky term that is meant to trick people into thinking that there is such a thing. A term that is meant to indicate that what happens at work is work, what happens outside of work is life, and there is a clear division between the two. Wrong! In casual conversations with my peers, the one thing I’ve heard on repeat is that companies eliminated jobs with the downturn in the economy, and then they never replaced the positions. This means that those who are left are expected to do “more with less” and for departments to churn out more results with half as many staff…. which in turn means that it’s even harder to find a happy medium between your at-work-life and your outside-of-work-life.
Nigel Marsh, an accomplished businessman and author, quite succinctly summed up my feelings about work/life balance in his ten-minute TED talk from 2010 that really hit home. The part that stuck with me the most was when he said:
It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance. – Nigel Marsh
Nigel’s right! If one thing is for sure as a working adult, it’s that balance is not one-size-fits-all. It’s more important than ever to set boundaries with employers and colleagues – identifying when/how you will be available and more importantly than that, identifying when you won’t be available. And, if in doing so you realize that your employer is not on the same page as you, then it might be time to start looking for a new job. If work’s not working out for you, the only person that can change that is you.
Listen to Nigel’s TED talk: How to make work-life balance work and let me know whatyou think!