Is work-life balance possible to find in your career?

Did you do a lot of “homework” this weekend? How many work-related emails and calls do you deal with outside of work hours? Do you find it challenging to effectively manage your personal and professional life? A poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid and The Globe & Mail showed that work-life balance is the top issue that most professionals face in their career.

You can listen to the podcast from our recent webinar on work-life balance (practical advice from the real world) with Launi Skinner former-president of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and Starbucks North America, and Laura Bickle Managing Editor of Today’s Parent magazine. They shared their thoughts and advice on this important topic from both an employer’s and individual’s perspective.

Work-life balance – this expression was first used in the mid 1980s to describe the balance and boundaries between an individual’s work and personal life. I find it interesting that this has really been an emerging problem. In 2005, a study published by Canadian Social found that we spend 45 minutes per day less with our family. This equates to five 40-hour work weeks less of time with the most important people in our lives. I like Laura’s definition; “Work-life balance is a very simple word for a complex question, it is really about managing your family and your career in a way that you are satisfied now and looking back in 15 years from now.

In a recent CareerJoy poll question: What is your greatest personal challenge in finding work-life balance? respondents gave the following answers:

  • Volume of work (39%)
  • Technology – Blackberry and email etc. (17%)
  • Expectations of my boss (17%)
  • Financial commitments (14%)
  • Working on global projects (10%)

How much of the challenge is related to our choices and our response to employers’ demands? We are all working in a 24 by 7 world; we are doing more with more. I found what Launi had to say was wise: “Be true to yourself. There are many demands to live in a certain neighbourhood, drive a certain car and dress a particular way. Don’t live someone else’s life. Stuff is just stuff.” I realize that we cannot control all of the elements and potential solutions. Some of the solutions suggested by Laura and Launi from our webinar are:

  • Work with your partner to define a proper balance of responsibilities at home.
  • Talk to your employer about working from home one day per week.
  • Try to outsource some of the chores in your life.
  • Find the best and most flexible caregivers.
  • Downsize your lifestyle.
  • Take a “not so big” role.
  • Hire the best people that you can find to work for you on your team.
  • Find a more family-friendly manager or employer

Both of these successful woman shared, “Don’t expect perfection, there is no perfect solution, it is a combination of having a good support system and an open dialogue with your employer, mixed with a dose of humour.”
What are some of the ways you have found balance in your career? Join the conversation and share your thoughts on my blog.
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Finding balance, along the road with you!