I read a review on Glassdoor the other day that confused me completely. “The Work/Life balance is next to none. Even on your day off, count on working.”
When I think of Work-Life Balance, I think of one’s ability to prioritize between his work, career and ambition, and his life – think health, family, friends, leisure, personal growth. It is absolutely a lifestyle choice. Your choice. And while a lot of companies work very hard at encouraging a balance between the two, the execution comes down to you, your ambition, your life goals.
The problem, I would argue, is that most of us (even myself from time to time) have failed at clearly define what that balance looks like. This is not an exercise in window shopping for balance either. You cannot just look at a co-worker and think “He has a great career. He has a loving family. He is fit and healthy. I will take one of those please.” The moment you start down that path, you minimize what that person has sacrificed in the past to achieve that balance. You judge a very narrow window of what is likely a long winding road. If nothing else, you set unrealistic expectations for achieving balance.
I have been sitting on a seesaw that is heavily loaded on the career end. I have certain goals I need to achieve in my career, and I understand that comes at the sacrifice of a life fully lived at times. (More work, less leisure, less time with friends and family, etc). I prioritize one end more than the other. That is my balance. I also know that if I power through that phase, the weight on one end will eventually lift off and I will achieve absolute equilibrium.
Dig deep and think, not only about what a balanced life looks like to you, but what you have to do to get there. Accept that imbalance in the short term is necessary for a perfectly balanced life long term. Particularly if you are ambitious. And most of all, take control of that seesaw. All any employer can do, is to press down on one end. You and only you can prioritize one side over the other. So take control – either plant your feet down firmly on one side, or just go along for the ride for a while.