A Summer Of Hard Work

Work hard and play hard. But don’t confuse the two. Author Unknown

People are used to freedom and family during the summertime, bracketed by beaches, long days and picnics. That’s what our memories tell us, what photo albums tell us, and what advertising tells us.

But for working women, the reality is very different.

For me, this summer was about working harder than ever, managing the increasing demands of family and friends, and my own self-imposed expectations.

It turns out a summer of hard work may be a good thing. (I keep telling myself this!)

I’m living the entrepreneur’s life which means there is often not enough balance (I’m never really not working.) This summer I focused more on work/life balance, tending to the business and the social community while also tending to my family and friendships.

I’m anticipating the cooler days of autumn in New England, the energy of new students in Boston and Cambridge, and the return to more normal business schedules. The third quarter will be the time to charge up the batteries and get ready for the introspection of the holidays.

I’ve been truly blessed this summer to connect with my colleagues and fun friends, as well as my parents. I think about the millions of other people who are sorting through childhood homes full of memories while they juggle careers and the demands of their own families and think I’ve been fortunate to have this time.

I’ve been spending my free time “hanging out” and mentoring high school and college students, and realize that now is the time to help them plot the next place on their maps of discovery and growth. It’s pretty cool. It’s no secret that it’s one of my favorite roles.

I talk to my women friends, all in different situations, and celebrate those differences with them.

Work/life balance is still a daily battle for me. I have been working on my various and complex relationships and scanning the horizon for trends and concepts that will inform my own career path in the coming months. It’s necessary work, and although it had to take place in competition with summer’s glories, perhaps it’s all the sweeter to have done it and come out the other side.

And of course there is next summer, and the memory of beaches, to savor.

What does work/life balance mean to you during times of transition? Women of HR readers, I am interested to hear your thoughts.

About the Author

Meghan M. Biro

Meghan M. Biro, founder of TalentCulture, is a globally-recognized expert in talent acquisition, innovative personal and corporate branding and new media strategies. She is a member of the National Association of Personnel Services, The Society for Human Resources Management, and several entrepreneurial organizations. You can connect with Meghan on Twitter as @MeghanMBiro or @TalentCulture and on LinkedIn.


Meghan M. Biro

Hello Kate: Thank you for stopping by. Glad it rang true. I appreciate your thoughftul words. I feel the same way. I’m convinced work/life balance is a conscious daily decision. I’m interested in buidling a business and building a life. Some days life will simply win. It’s a good thing 🙂 Let’s Salsa!

Hello Tanveer: Always brightens my day to hear your feedback. Let’s create create a movement that mandates enjoying life outside of the workplace a valued and important experience. Well-rounded people make for a healthy workplace!

Hello Sharlyn: Thank you for sharing your story. The key truly is knowing when a 3-hour lunch with a friend equals a real priority. It’s entirely important for a balanced fun ratio. Smiles. As entrepreneurs, where are we placing value in the work/life equation? Good food for thought!

Hello Jacqui: Delighted to see you here. Hear Hear 🙂 I agree with you – there really is no true separation between personal and business. Weaving in and finding the right balance takes daily effort but it is very worthwhile. I loved Kate’s dancing analogy as well! You have such a talented way with words. Yes, let’s celebrate drinking in the beauty and joys of life. I like your positive attitude! It’s contagious. That special someone who guards from too much work is a very key relationship to nurture.



Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Executive Resume Strategist

As usual, your words breathe life onto a page, prompting both emotion and intellect to converge.

As well, you tell a story, it seems of your summertime plight of hard work as well as the advantages of your efforts: i.e., connecting with colleagues, fun friends and parents.

I applaud you to be able to reach in and admire the good fortune you have, as well as recognize the ever-constant demand that ‘doing it all’ (or, doing a LOT all of the time) requires. As you mention, this summer you focused more on work/life balance, and your message is clear: both business and personal needs and commitments are important.

For me, work/life balance means continually putting into place boundaries that inherently guard me from ‘always working.’ For the past three years, that has involved my sailing lifestyle, and my husband’s and my commitment thereto. By financially and physically committing time to our boat, our marina and our social life, I have virtually ‘no choice’ but to shut down the laptop and avert my eyes from the Droid in order to steer our little ship.

That said, as a fellow entrepreneur, for the past 13 years, I have accepted the fact that my business and my personal life are knit together like a tightly woven sweater – the indivisible, colorful threads nearly blended.

Like Sharlyn said, sometimes working 7 days a week is needed, but then there are times we can take a 3-hour lunch with a friend or go to an afternoon movie with one’s husband. Hear Hear!

Moreover, I loved Kate’s Salsa dancing and Latin dance class story! Wow – she really nailed it with finding a physically and emotionally stimulating and healthy method of getting away and taking care of herself! I agree that we MUST decide we deserve it, and then just do it.

Finally, even with that decision made, life will inevitably throw us curve balls; at those times, we must rely on the knowledge and conviction that ‘this too shall pass,’ and we are MEANT to be on this earth not only to give of ourselves and to survive challenges, but also to thrive, drink in the beauty and celebrate in the joys of this earth.


Sharlyn Lauby

Excellent reminder that we have to take care of ourselves so our business will succeed. Over the years, I’ve blended my personal and professional life. This works for me. While there are times I work 7 days a week, there are also times when I can take a 3-hour lunch with a friend. Or go to an afternoon movie with my husband.

They key to balance is finding your own. What works for one person, might not be best for someone else.

Tanveer Naseer

I think there’s no problem that resonates with more people in the modern workplace than struggling with the work/life balance. I think the key problem is that while we schedule and commit to performing certain tasks, attending various meeting and so forth, we fail to realize that we need to do the same with our personal lives as well.

Of course, I’m not referring to scheduling the kids’ swimming or piano lessons. Instead, I’m referring to what Kate described in her comment above – making time for us to pursue our other interests or things we’d like to learn and discover.

I’m sure we all remember our teachers and career counsellors advising us of the importance of being well-rounded students – balancing our homework against doing various extra-curricular activities – in order to help us “get ahead” in the real world.

Once we become a part of the workforce, I think it’s important to remember the importance of being well-rounded individuals, not just to help us become better workers, but also better versions of ourselves.

Yes, it can be a challenge at times. But as you pointed out in your piece, Meghan, the payoff is certainly well worth the cost.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

Work life balance rings true to me! I have been an entrepreneur now for 21 years. In the early days, I had no work life balance — “I had to build the business!.” Then when the business started to take off, I took off — not vacation — on an airplane and spent 3 weeks out of every month on the road. Life consisted of Saturday: laundry, billing, prepping to go to next engagement.

Many years later, I sat straight up in bed one morning and an odd feeling came over me. I said — uh oh, I built a business yet not a life. The same day a continuing ed catalog came in the mail and I browsed through it to see if there was some fun activity/hobby that I might try which would help me meet more acquaintances.

I brushed over all the standard items and saw “Salsa Dancing”. Come out, learn latest dances, no partner required. PERFECT! I went to the first two hour class and was amazed. 35 people were there, I danced for two hours, felt great and never looked back.

I finished that class and started taking many other LATIN dance classes. I sold the treadmill and rid myself of the heel pain I had. My health improved so much that the doctor asked “What are you doing?” Your cholesterol is wonderful, you’ve lost weight etc…..

What I learned about work life balance:
You must first decide that you deserve it.
Be willing to make some changes to achieve it.
Then find something that achieves it within the scope of your total life picture.
Check your work/life balance pulse once a week. If you get to Friday and you haven’t done anything for yourself, stop and do it before Monday!

LOVE your post.


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