Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Work / Life balance?

As I was initially writing this, I was lying on the floor trying to unkink my back from sitting all day and wondering why I continue to do this to myself. Why do we continue to do it? Why do we put up with jobs we hate? Why do we give our bodies & our minds to our employer?

Is it for the paycheck or the benefits? Really, is that all? Aren’t we worth more to ourselves, our families, & our friends? When all we have left at the end of the day is anger or exhaustion or apathy, we are no longer living a quality life.

Ours is one of the most industrious nations in the world. But we aren’t one of the most productive. Recent research has shown that more hours don’t equal more productivity. Quite a few nations are starting to average down their work week – and productivity is going up. And, surprise, some of these nations are in the top 10 happiest nations in the world. The United States doesn’t make the list.

So we work crazy hours, are moderately productive, make so-so to holy cow! money, but we aren’t happy. What on earth is the point!? Why did we ever agree to this? Someone, somewhere bamboozled us into this crazy idea that more hours are better and we just swallowed it down. No more.

There has been a shift in thinking for the younger generations that we need to pay attention to. Though some of the joblessness is due to lack of jobs, I believe some of it is also due to the refusal to settle. While it can be a bit na├»ve, there is nobleness to it as well. Think right now about how your life would be if you 1) had a truly healthy balance between work and home (leaning toward home) and 2) you loved what you did earn money to do. Isn’t it beautiful?

We can make the change, especially if we do it in force. We can refuse to work late, take on extra work loads, or check email after hours. But we have to be in a position & willing to walk away from a job that won’t play. It is radical, I know. I can see dozens of heads shaking now. This isn’t a shift that will happen overnight. But it will happen if we try – a little at a time.

I am not blind, I know that some of us work to just stay alive. And my heart goes out to you. I say to you, do not give up hope – you too can break out of the cycle. Be strong.

Isn’t it time to put a job back in its place? As a money maker for necessities (and maybe a little more). Not as the main time, energy, & soul suck it has become.

Tonight & this weekend don’t check your business email. The world won’t stop. Take back a piece of your life & enjoy.


  1. I agree and I disagree. I mostly agree. In fact, I'll go a step further with the less is more and say that this country needs to take an extra hard look at maternity leave. I mean, where else do mothers go back to work 6 weeks postpartum? And when did work become so important that a 6 week old baby can be left, often in a daycare where you may have met the caregiver a time or two? Yes, I understand part of it was for women's rights, so they didn't lose their step in the career later, and to make a point that one can work and be a parent. I get all of that. But is that why it is still happening? Is every woman choosing that for themselves? Or do jobs make it a must? For many, I believe the 6 weeks is now out of necessity to maintain their job. That's asinine!
    Now, the one part I do disagree with is your logic behind the unemployment. Oh, I get your argument and raise you that there are so many jobs out there right now that young people don't even know how to get because they didn't exist 4 years ago when they started college. Technology changing minute by minute can do that to a person. But also, I see the other end at my job. Unemployment is a way of life. Kids learn the system, and choose to be lazy, collecting a paycheck from tax payers. I am not making this political, because I see both sides to everything, but I am saying that I see this happening more and more, and work ethic displayed less and less. And to me, you have to have a good work ethic in place in order to decrease hours and raise productivity.
    But again, I agree. Refuse to work yourself to death. Refuse to live to work, and get back to working to live (and realize living doesn't mean having every luxury, rather to me, it means truly loving the life you have, and the people in it!) So yes, family, then work that you love. I love that we as a family sacrifice much so that I can stay home some with little man. And, I love that when I do work, MOST of the time I enjoy what I'm doing! I only wish I could say the same for the hubby. His whole "need to provide" thing is in overdrive since little man showed up. And thank God for a man who will provide, but also, I know, I'm getting all God on ya, but I believe the stress can be shed if we have faith that God provides--and I'm not talking about mansions here! (sorry, I'll stop now!!)

    1. I can't add anything to the maternity leave discussion because I don't have babies. I understand your statement though.
      As for jobs, apparently I don't know where they are either. I've watched coworkers struggle for yearS, looking & applying for jobs until they are ready to give up. And we are accountants - everyone needs accountants. My opinion is that the economy just hasn't recovered enough. And employers would rather leave a position unfilled than fill it with someone who doesn't "fit."
      For some - yes, they have learned to work the system. For others, there just isn't anything there for them.

  2. I just found your blog from your profile over at Be More With Less and thought I'd pipe in.

    My personal opinion is that we need to look beyond the whole employer/employee model - for a whole variety of reasons. I mean, if you look at it historically, it's really only in the past 150 years or so that most people earned their living through a "job". Before that, people were farmers or they learned a trade, or had small businesses. Now, I'd be the last person to say that the pre-industrial revolution economy was some sort of a panacea, but I do think that the whole current economic model has led to a concentration of wealth and power that is not healthy for anyone.

    My solution has basically been to just refuse to participate. The closest I ever came to having a "real job" was running a non-profit folk music school. But after 16 years or so I decided that it had become all too "jobby" so I quit and started my own internet based "business" (meaning I have a number of web pages and make my living from ad revenue.) I've also been able to avoid the trap of consumerism to a large degree, so at the age of 46 I am completely debt-free, I own my small home outright, and I only work about 10 hours per week max (but only when I feel like it.)

    I'm not saying that everyone should live like I do, but it does make me sad to see so many unhappy people marching blindly to the corporate drum, and I am living proof that life doesn't have to be like that. Perhaps a good place to start would be to redefine our concept of "success".

    1. Yes!
      First, I'm glad you found me. Welcome.
      Second, you shared exactly where James & I have found ourselves heading. Our goal is to exit the corporate structure, find our way back to "enough", and passing on our lessons. We are closer. Unfortunately we bought into the system & now have to dig ourselves out.
      You are an inspiration, thank you for sharing.

  3. Work and life is a combination and is part of every individual be it a man or a woman. One needs to be honest to share the feelings and this explains a sense of honesty.

    Even, I have faced the same kind of situation. At that time, my boss and my team members helped me a lot. We are using Replicon's roster software in our office. Usually, they used to update the status of our projects. It is really helpful and allows managing and sharing information about teams, projects, tasks, deadlines.