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Monday, December 06, 2004


Work and Life: Is One Worth More Than The Other?

Ever since working for a professional association dedicated to the improvement of work/life issues within organizations, I've been intrigued by this notion of "work/life balance." It seemed to counter the rampant workaholism which existed in many companies and even non-profits. It scared and angered me to see both men and women idolized for working 16 to 18 hour days, sleeping in their offices, constantly on the road on the covers of major business magazines. Our overdriven culture continues to highlight these professionals as models of success and respect in the business world. One such example documented by Fast Company just last year made me cringe:
A few inches over 6 feet and more than a few pounds over 200, [Dan] Talbott is a Texas dynamo who seems to live on hot dogs and 18-hour workdays. He bears the pasty complexion of a man who has spent most of his working life in airports and conference rooms, and indeed, he has -- he's racked up 3 million miles on American Airlines alone.
Later, the article goes on to discuss Talbott's project team:
Working out of its Blue Ash headquarters, HP's pursuit team lived on a brutal, nearly round-the-clock schedule, with no time off on weekends. Their family lives were tested; at least one team leader reports that his marriage is in trouble. The stress took an enormous physical and mental toll. At a 7 AM breakfast meeting with his HR-team leader, Talbott watched in alarm as the man got up from the table, took a step, and keeled over from exhaustion.
Have our priorities always been so messed up? Would you sacrifice your marriage or your health for your work? What if you felt the work was absolutely important to your success? It seems that it comes down to critical choices surrounding our core values. But, let's make sure those core values are focused toward what's really important to us and not just getting that next "deal" done.

Categories: c.Careers; c.Leadership; c.Living; c.Organizations

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