Work Life Balance

Image (9)It seems like the majority of work environments these days reward employees who are the most out of balance.

– Anon

Unless you are a die hard workaholic with the work place as your only link to existence on this planet – I am sure you aspire to the little things in life which makes your life complete – while also harbouring reasonable ambitions at work. By ‘You’ I mean the – ordinary employee forming the majority of the current workforce.

There is a good chance that you find yourself getting stretched between your work and family like most of us. This is a situation being faced by thousands of people. Nigel Marsh in his TED Talk on work Life – puts it in very succinct manner – “ there are thousands and thousands of people out there living a life of quite screaming desperation who spend long hard hours at work doing jobs they hate – to enable them to buy things that they need , to impress the people whom they don’t like”.

That brings us to the topic of choice and our own definitions of success. Are we grappling with work/life balance issues – which actually may turn out to be symptoms of a deeper issue?

To start with – what do we mean by balance?.A quick Google reveals the dictionary meaning – which defines balance as– “ a situation in which different elements are in equal or correct proportion”.

The key here is equal or “correct” proportion. For an individual to feel complete or fulfilled he needs to be nourished emotionally, spiritually, physically and socially. How he achieves this varies. The fact is that most of us get carried away by one or the other aspect leaving out certain areas which in the end create the imbalance.

And this work/life balance cannot be achieved by an individual in isolation. People around you directly impact your balance. They include your colleagues, Boss, subordinates, family, spouse, kids, parents, social circle et al. Now if your expectation is in sync with the expectations of all these other constituents then there would be complete balance – a state of equilibrium. But if your career aspirations prevent you from living upto what your family expects of you as a husband/wife/parent or child that creates conflict and imbalance.

It is interesting to note that work/life balance is dynamic. Indeed it is a state that everyone could strive for but very few achieve and sustain it. Life is messy – things change continually and so do the expectations of people around us and our own expectations of others.  To keep you work and life in balance one needs to be continuously shifting and adjusting like this windsailer.

Incase you want to dig deeper into the topic there is a ton of material online. To start with you could watch this TED Talk by Nigel Marsh.

Paula Caproni a renowned behavioural scientist and Professor at Ross school of business struggled with managing her dual career family with two 4 year olds. She has a unique take on this issue and her paper is worth a read.

I am in the midst of a detailed study of the work/life situation in India and would like to understand the work/life choices being made by people in our country.

What is your take on the topic?

Roles between partners are well demarcated out here – hence work/life challenge is not a major issue.What do you think?

Leave your comments here or @f_prakash.

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