It’s Saturday afternoon, the sun is shining outside but yet I am sitting here at a table inside a smelly sports complex cafeteria in Anaheim before my son’s next volleyball game – trust me, it’s an extremely long weekend full of many volleyball games. Laptop open to my work email, I find it ironic that the subject of my blog is work-life balance.
Yeah right you say. But let me explain.
I read an article in early January that struck a chord and has stuck with me. Ben Petersen who contributed a piece to Inc. said, “People don’t have 2 identities, so focus on nurturing office culture instead.” Wow, where was that thinking years ago? I have struggled to be a career woman, wife, mother, care taker, friend, sister, daughter (you get the picture) for years. When it comes down to it, Mr. Petersen is right, I have one identity and that is Carol. I have brought an infant to meetings and on business trips, I have willingly worked weekends, I have missed an anniversary or school function all for the sake of work because that is part of who I am. But I have also been fortunate to be able to travel the world, skip out on a Friday afternoon, and take a Monday off to ski or nurse a cup of coffee with a friend before work because that is part of who I am as well.
Petersen goes on to say that life is life and that pretending otherwise only hurts businesses and employees alike. As an employee that train of thought is so freeing. But how about for an employer? Today’s workforce demands limits on their time more than ever. Pacifying them with free food and Ping-Pong alone probably won’t cut it. Today’s workers are seeking a genuinely fulfilling work culture, one that doesn’t overwork them and allows them to be, well, themselves. Employers need to pay attention to perks that are truly meaningful and fulfilling and support employees goals (all goals, remember it’s not work vs. life) in order to retain them long term. So whether it be paid time to volunteer or travel or time with family or to get a degree, the skies the limit when it comes to a balanced life.
And in case you need me, catch me Tuesday as I am taking my son snowboarding on Monday because, that’s who I am.