Saturday, March 12, 2016

Work life balance or life work balance?

Work life balance. Or is it other way round, life work balance? Lifestyle where work dominates and determines what kind of life you can have is work life balance. That's the typical corporate treadmill. More and more work is dumped on you and you skimp on life's priorities to keep up with ever increasing workload.

Life work balance is what we mean when we say work life balance but we do not make conscious choices. Life work balance means your life and what you want out of life determine your work and the amount of work you want to do.

So remember that it is life work balance and not work life balance. This nugget of wisdom came from a very senior exec that I work for (two levels below him). He was talking to some of us in an informal setting and was sharing what his priorities are as an individual and as an exec. He kept saying life work balance again and again. I thought he meant work life balance. Looks like he read my mind and explained the above mentioned twist to a much thrown around term - work life balance. It is is indeed life work balance. Choose the kind of work that supports your life and life's goals and not the other way around. He practices it and still a reasonably senior exec. One of the very few that I have met who say they are able to practice life work balance. Most of the senior execs give up life for work because that's just the way things are. You can't be running a large corporation and then say you want to work only certain number of hours, that too in a way you want. That does not fly. You might get compensated well for sacrificing your life for work but part-time workers, people wanting a laid back lifestyle are not going to make a cut.

Got to give up something to get something else. But if your life work balance is out of whack just to make a basic living (food, shelter and clothes) then you better look for something else or get better skills. Meeting basic needs should not require one to make big sacrifices. That is meeting basic needs only and not wants. Big difference between needs and wants. If you want to own houses, multiple cars, big bank balance, bigger inheritance for kids, flashy lifestyle etc. then only thing possible is work life balance because you need to work like anything to support your desired lifestyle. If you have chosen that route then do not complain about not being able to achieve life work balance. Make peace with it and work like crazy and hope that at least some of your wants and desires are fulfilled (even if you die in the process). Tired of people complaining about the amount of work they have to do. Self inflicted injury is what that is.

I admire what Jack Welch, ex-CEO of GE, said. He said very honestly but very bluntly. "There is no work life balance. Get used to it." Agreed. But you can create a semblance of life work balance by making right choices and then being happy with those choices.

Have a great weekend. May you be happy with your choice whether it is Work life balance or life work balance :)
(Copied from my Facebook status)


sunaath said...

‘ಬೆಚ್ಚನಾ ಮನೆಯಾಗೆ, ವೆಚ್ಚಕ್ಕೆ ಹೊನ್ನಾಗೆ,
ಇಚ್ಛೆಯಾನರಿವ ಸತಿ ಇರಲು, balanceಉ
ಯಾವದಾದರೇನು, ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ!’

The above quote is just humour, Mahesh.
I appreciate your points.

Mahesh Hegade said...

Thank you Sunaath Sir.