For some reason, every spring a new rash of articles makes the rounds on work/life balance. HR folks weigh in. Leadership voices an opinion. Journalists and career coaches lay out the arguments and ideas.
I confess: I don't understand the concept.
What is ‘balance’? Is it about less working hours? Less expectation of long hours by a manager? Ability to get personal things done during working hours? Not being tired when you get home? Angst over not having much to get home to?
Is this really a weird backlash about how women are told we can have stellar careers and functional nuclear families with lovely homes and time to volunteer while baking cookies with great hair?
Our daughters and nieces are watching some of us heroically keeping all the balls in the air and wondering if that’s really the life for them.
Here in North America, we're not in the Industrial Revolution any more when even young children worked 12 hours a day or more, 6 days a week. While I agree we're quietly working long hours, we've been complicit as a workforce in allowing this to grow. (to wit the woman at the next desk who clearly should be in bed with a hot mug of something but who Must get out a powerpoint deck before collapsing)
Maybe work/life balance starts with a decision about how you want to run your life – before you agree to work for someone who might try and sway you from your decision?
I'm not saying corporations shouldn't do their part. I think we need to also speak up and articulate what we want when we say work/life balance… and maybe we need to take the time back.