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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

 

Work and Life and Success: Room For All?

I've found two very different perspectives on the work/life experience in the media.

The first comes from Fortune Magazine and takes the view that organizations must see a flexible workplace as a benefit for their employees and a key business initiative that positively affects the bottom-line. While the article is sponsored by an association that promotes work/life initiatives, AWLP has worked hard over the past few years to make solid business cases for why taking care of your people makes good business sense.

Read the article (pdf): http://www.awlp.org/pub/fortune-section-04.pdf

The second is the lead story for the October issue of Fast Company which argues that work/life balance is bunk and that it's bad for business and making all of us crazy. I think there might be a kernal of truth to the article in this way: balance is impossible. Consider your life like a pie and each wedge represents a different role. If you work so hard to stay in the center of the pie and balance it all, you'll spend more time and effort in the act of balancing than you will in actually living. So on that point, I would agree that the attempt to balance will drive us mad. Yet, my major criticism of the piece is that it continues to advocate a zero-sum game where you have to constantly give up something to remain successful in your life. If your kids need you, then you have to sacrifice your work; if you're working on an important project, then your family might just have to give you up for a while.

Read the article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/87/balance-1.html

Maybe what's really needed from all of us now is a reconceptualization of what success truly is. My own definition of success is when our roles are integrated in a meaningful and intentional way. I'm curious about what success looks like for others. Is it possible to live a successful personal and professional life all at once?


Categories: c.Careers; c.Living; c.Management


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