The Importance of Work/Life Balance
Many employers sneer at phrases like work/life balance. These slave drivers would have you believe that paying attention to your private life is a sin against work, against the company, perhaps against humanity! But without work/life balance, the best-laid career plans can easily go awry. I mean, you can’t plan which certifications will enhance your professional credibility and open the doors of opportunity if you’re flat on your back in an asylum, now can you?
The asylum imagery is a little harsh, but stress can make you go crazy, among other things, and stress is the antithesis of work/life balance. According to stats on burnout posted on stressdirections.com, some 25 to 40 percent of job burnout experienced by U.S. workers is attributed to stress. Savvy employers realize that stress is a drain on employee productivity and creativity, and many offer or suggest ways to cope. For those of us who work for organizations that are not so hip, it’s up to us to mix and match work with everything else that can go on in life, including family, hobbies, health considerations and friendships.
It’s important to create the right mixture for you because without work/life balance, any career goals or aspirations you’ve set for yourself will eventually fall flat due to your own mind or body’s inability to keep up. Finding your career niche involves more than gathering and applying copious amounts of industry and job information. Learning to create work/life balance can help by clearing the mind and body, which in turn helps you identify which goals are the most important to you and define success using those objectives.
Work/life balance can involve many things, from simply getting enough sleep at night to eliminating negative people and situations from your sphere to the more complex machinations involved in building and maintaining beneficial and supportive relationships with family, friends and peers. But when you consider the topic, remember what Linda Stryker said, “The cost of success will be too high if you chose not to lead a balanced life.” I apologize—I couldn’t find exactly who Linda Stryker is. But if you need something a little more accessible to sink your teeth into with regard to career-planning and life-living, think on Oprah’s balance-related comments. (Everyone else does!) In the April 2003 edition of her magazine O, that wildly successfully lady said, “I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.” So pick what will make you happiest in work and in life and go from there.