Work life balance

What does it really mean?

Just about anyone you meet who has spent a good amount of time building a career, sometimes but not always a professional career, will tell you that the hardest thing is balancing work and life. 

To be successful, to get ahead, it seems you just have to put in the hours. You will probably have to work the weekends, travel, and generally miss out on a load of good stuff that other people do. It’s all fast track this, stepladder that, do as I do and do as I say. It’s a meritocracy and you can fit a lot of merit in a 60 hour week. 

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this sort of life doesn’t sound like a happy one. It certainly offers certain rewards, not least financial. But you hear of an awful lot of people in these environments who don’t seem happy with their lot, and would love to get out and pursue something that gives them a better work life balance. 

The 9 to 5 life

So what about all the folk who aren’t building a career, but have a steady 9 to 5, not looking to break the glass ceiling, be the CEO, or go on those conferences? For some, this kind of work is enough. Get paid, pay the bills, little stress, plenty of family and friend time, what’s not to like? 

The bit I struggle with is this. For five days a week you might be spending half you’re woken hours doing something that is simply a means to an end. And that can drive people nuts. It certainly would me!

Superficially, it appears they have the perfect work life balance as they don’t spend too much time working. But then it hits you. What we should be asking is ‘have you got your bad time/good time balance right?’ Your work is bad hours but at least you don’t do so many that it spoils or reduces your good hours.

Someone way smarter than me once said “You can’t call it work if you can’t think of anything you’d rather be doing”.

OK, noone is going to pay me to sip cocktails on a beach, so let’s not get too carried away here, but our pursuit should be to find the thing we enjoy doing so that there isn’t a fight between the hours we endure and the hours we enjoy. It should, instead, be about creating a life without bad hours. If you enjoy every hour of the day there is no balance to find. The trick is simply to make sure that while you’re doing something you love, those around you are as happy as you are, doing the things they love.

Until next time,



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