Categories: Career Help
I spent a good part of a recent weekend doing a final edit of an upcoming project management book. Ironically, one chapter referenced a 2004 Fast Company article called "Balance is Bunk!" ('Bunk' being a slang term that basically means 'absurd.')
There I was, giving up my well-earned leisure time on a beautiful fall day, but wanting and needing to get the job done. So I went to the article, which states:
"The truth is, balance is bunk. ... The quest for balance between work and life, as we've come to think of it, isn't just a losing proposition; it's a hurtful, destructive one."
Now we're really getting to the core of the dilemma, I thought to myself. The author then quotes John Wood, who at the time the article was written, had been working seven days a week, 365 days a year. In regard to the elusive, so-called state of "balance," Mr. Wood said:
"I don't look at balance as an ideal. What I look at is, Am I happy? If the answer is yes, then everything else is inconsequential."
That made a lot of sense, I thought. I love and am passionate about what I do. I want to get this book published and out the door -- but what's on the other side of this supposedly unachievable quest for balance?
Rodney Turner, PhD, recently made a presentation entitled "Work-Life Balance in Project-Oriented Organizations." A preview states:
"Companies should treat their employees with respect and allow them to have a work-life balance. It is good for their physical and psychological health and therefore good for social sustainability. ... The need for profit and responding to client demands often takes precedence over employee wellbeing."
So is work-life balance bunk? I think the answer is both yes and no.
Sometimes when a project grabs us or is imposed on us, we have to say, "I surrender" -- either out of passion, guilt or intense pressure. I chose to give the book I was editing my all -- even when a "balanced" work-life scenario would have had me walking in the woods on that beautiful day. But I know it was worth it, and I know other beautiful days will come. I need to make sure I take advantage of them -- at least once in a while.
What do you think about the work-life balance challenge?