Is finding work-life balance still an aspiration for today’s workers? Or has the hyperlooped, always-on modern work world rendered the idea of such “balance” a unicorn with a mane of flowers, prancing and snuffing just outside our cubicle, wily and forever out of reach?
Let’s go with the assumption that work-life balance is not akin to a mythical creature. It’s for real. The methods of capturing it – and the traps along the way – might have altered with recent evolutions in the ways and places we work – and with some new ways we think about work. But it’s no less attainable.
Think of it this way: Lots might have changed over the past decades in terms of how we meet our sweethearts, but meet them we still do. We always will. The entire “dating” (ahem!) scene is completely different from our parents’ generations. But we somehow still make it happen. And plenty of us still find true love in the Tinder/Grindr Age.
So, too, at work, have several concurrent revolutions unfolded. But bottom line, it’s still just work, and we’re still only workers at all those wheels. And it’s still not all we are.
That’s what balance means.
A good definition of work-life balance is that we’re good at our jobs, dedicated, committed, focused, well-placed, and respected, while we’re on the job. But there’s obviously more to us—or should be. When we’re off the clock, we’re off the clock. And on our own. We’re free.
Starting to sound mythical again, ain’t it?
The partner of one of our people here gets über-aggrieved – sometimes shuts down – when someone (usually soon into a social situation) pops the query, “So what do you do?” Happens all the time. The answer provides the inquisitor a shorthand narrative – complete with a little filmstrip flipping in their head – of everything they have to know about you up front.
Oh, a bus driver. Ah, a Wall Street woman. So—an actress. Work at a porn store, eh? What more do we need to know?
Sometimes it’s others and society that turns our jobs into our identities. As though we all show up, flat characters costumed from Central Casting: Grizzled cop, 52. Perky pharmaceutical rep, 24. Punk rock drummer.
But more often than not, we do it to ourselves. We define ourselves by what we do. I am a good firefighter. I am a great nurse. I am a Twitch gamer extraordinaire. This seems like a good thing, right? To throw your self completely in the game? And doesn’t the market demand that? Don’t all the self-help gurus insist you have to eat, sleep, and breathe your mission? Isn’t that the only way to compete?
In the next blog, we’re going to delve into that question.
But the answer is no.
We need to focus our attention. But foster our soul. Start by giving it music. Visit focusatwill.com.