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Sunday Post: Work-Life “Balance” Isn’t the Point

From the HBR Blog Network:

Work-Life “Balance” Isn’t the Point


“Some people appear to manage career success and a positive private life with ease. Here are a few pointers:

1. Strive for work-life effectiveness—not balance. The term work-life balance implies that one dedicates an equal portion of time to work and life. Catalyst, a research firm focused on women in business, uses the phrase work-life effectiveness, and suggests striving for a situation where work fits with other aspects of your life. Researchers Jeffrey Greenhaus and Gary Powell expand on this concept and recommend that work and personal life should be allies and that participation in multiple roles, such as parent, partner, friend, employee, can actually enhance physical and psychological well-being — especially when all of the roles are high quality and managed together.


2. Define success in all categories of your life. Every person needs to define success on his or her own terms. Ultimately, for both men and women, the definition of success is deeply personal. At the end of each person’s life, only he or she can look back and say, “I was successful.” It is also important to realize that what constitutes success to one person may not constitute success to another.

… consider sharing your priorities and ideas of success with important stakeholders in your life. By doing so, you will gain valuable perspective and, perhaps, buy-in to your work and life goals.

3. Maintain control. Researchers suggest that people may experience high stress when they feel out of control. So, take control of your career — explore your own history, biases, motivation and preferences. As an example, many people enjoy spending a lot of time at work because they like what they do. Thus, long work hours are not necessarily burdensome to them. Each of us should take the time to find a job that ‘fits’ us. When possible, we should set our own boundaries.

… We should also proactively manage the direction and meaning of our work.

As Anna Quindlen observed, “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.””

I listen to lots of conversations about this in library land.  No one approach is right for everyone but this posting has something to chew on.



Posted on: June 16, 2013, 7:25 am Category: Uncategorized

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