The Best Balance I Can Get

 Here’s how my work life balance operates: I work 5 days a week and have my life on the weekends.

In short, the balance is really in favor of the work part. 

The only time I had real work life balance was when I didn’t work full time. I was able to choose when and how I worked and I always arranged my work around my life.  Now that I have returned to full time work, I fit my life around my work.

I don’t know how to achieve true work life balance in the full time workforce today. How can you have a life during the week if you are expected to be at your desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days per week? I’m exhausted when I get home each day and the last thing I want to do is go out or exercise (well, I never want to exercise but that’s another story) or do anything except what I absolutely have to do to get ready for the next day.

What does work life balance mean anyway? What percentage of work versus life are you supposed to have to be balanced? Who ever decided that it takes 8 hours a day to perform your role satisfactorily? Why is the working week allocated 5 days? You see, words like “flexible working hours” and “work life balance” are just catchy terms to get you thinking that your organization is a proud supporter of your life. Most often, they are not.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, on a personal level, I cannot have work life balance when I choose to work full time. So, my week days are dedicated to work and my weekends are for living. 

That’s the best balance I can get. 

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

Judy Greenslade

I seek the fabulous in everything! As a learning and development professional with flair, I enable people to be their best. And, I have a dangerous shoe fetish which is spiralling out of control.

5 Comments

Pam

Since the invention of crackberries I think WLB has disappeared. For me I have accepted that I am on call 24/7 to work and home. Wherever I am the phone is ringing or messages are pinging. I am the sole HR person in a small Company and I have been blessed with flexibility to deal with my one year old twins in return I accept that even though I am about to set sale to the caribbean if the phone rings and it says ‘Boss’ then I am really needed.

The difference in this debate for me is how our other members of the management team react…..

What I don’t like is the comments from my social circle about the fact I work FT… and again that is a whole different debate.

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Emily

Lesa, I love your point! Who DID decide they are separate? I’ve only got so many years on this planet…I intend to live them to the fullest and balance everything…not just work versus life. Judy, I think you’ve made a great point about everyone needing to balance in the best way they can, for them. Every situation is unique.

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Lesa

My question is who ever decided that work and life were two separate things? Isn’t work part of “life”, too? It may not always have things we love to do, but then my life outside the office/work occasionally includes laundry and scubbing toilets, which is not what I’d choose to do on a regular basis. I’m more about lounging on the couch (or a beach) with a good book. But I don’t think I could do either without the work part that helps pay for that book or trip to the beach. My life inside the office/work also includes the opportunity to meet and work with some really talented, interesting, and even fun individuals. So I would have to say that unless the work part was soul-crushing in some way (and I’ve been there, too) then I need to have work as a part of my life.

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Lyn Hoyt

I’m not sure there is ever going to be a clear cut answer for the WLB. Each family situation is different. Some love to compartmentalize 9 to 5 while others like to shoot from the hip going back and forth between play dates and conference calls. It is all tiring.

I think my best work life balance moments were in the days of conference calling during toddler naps. After that Friday marathon call, I hung up, poured a martini and changed a diaper all within 10 minutes. My worst would be staying on a call too long when said toddler was ready to get up from his nap, only to walk into the bedroom and find poo on the wall.

There is something to compartmentalizing a five day work week. Thanks for the post! Enjoy your weekend!

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