Work is part of life; it is healthy and constructive. It pays the bills. It gives the reward of real accomplishment and useful participation in community and society. It doesn’t matter if you are a Career Counselor like I am, a pizza delivery girl, a corporate executive, or an aspiring rocket scientist. Work can be wonderful and fulfilling if the fit is just right. However, as you might have learned, if not managed correctly, a job can also take a toll on your relationships, health, and overall sense of well-being.
The harsh reality of the current economic climate is that most of us are forced to do more with much, much less – both at work and at home. In today’s chaotic world, it is a safe bet that there just isn’t enough time in the average day to meet the responsibilities of work, family and friends. And, since our bosses hold a tight rein on our paychecks, it is likely that our family and friends are the ones who suffer. If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t find the time to return phone calls or remember to send a birthday card to your Aunt Betty. Thank goodness for Facebook! That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
If you are one of the enlightened few, you have already come to the conclusion that giving up a social and family life is too great a price to pay for career success. All generations in all types of jobs are seeking greater balance, less stress, and more time with loved ones. Like you, they are willing to give it their all when they are at work and they expect to work hard. But in exchange, they want to be able to LIVE life. This desire stems from the reality that as chaotic as each day can be, it is near impossible to effectively support our spouses, parents, siblings and children, build meaningful relationships, or pursue our dreams if we have no emotional stamina.
Though it is not always possible to change our job or circumstances, we ARE in the perfect position to start living a purposeful life. As Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.” With so many demands on our time (both at work and at home), it is critical that we each find time to do the things that rejuvenate us – whether that is taking a Zumba class, penning down our thoughts on a blog, or spending time with loved ones. Research suggests that if you can become less of a victim of stress and overwork while taking control of your own reaction to stress, you will live longer and be happier at work and at home.
That sounds great in theory, but you might be wondering (like I did) how you would actually accomplish such a feat. In the weeks to come, I’ll spend some time exploring career life planning success strategies that may be helpful to you as you begin to set clear goals for yourself – both at work and at home. My interest lies in the fact that I, too, am a work in progress. I humbly admit that even on the best of days, “work Vera” and “social Vera” are in a constant battle, leaving a lot to be desired of either. Hopefully my quest for balance will help provide some solutions for you as well.
One thing that I have resigned to, as you should, is to involve my friends, family, boss, and co-workers as much as I am comfortable with during this process. It is important to keep the lines of communication open because as you and I start to balance our lives better, we might make decisions that others don’t understand, or act in ways that they deem unexpected. Typically, others are much more likely to buy in if we share our motivations for change with them.
Lily Tomlin explained that “the trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” Simply put, we could keep working ourselves to burnout with the noble intentions of desperately trying to keep everything together, but the likely reality is that no matter the amount of effort put forth, we’ll still be running in place, failing to fully advance in our careers or life. Friends, it is simply irrational to expect different outcomes if we keep doing the same things. So let’s stop! What we are talking about here is a decision to seek a rational balance between our work and social life – a balance that is all too rare in today’s society. Let’s fight the urge to settle for an average life where true work life balance is an unattainable ideal; instead, let’s choose to pursue the life that we have dreamed of. Are you in? Then get off that running wheel and make a commitment to start chasing your fire! With soul searching, perseverance, and the right support network, we’ll be well on our way to personal well-being and career life balance.
Happy balancing, friends!
Tagged with: accomplishment • balance • career counselor • career success • chaotic world • Counselor • economic climate • family • harsh reality • living a purposeful life • meaningful relationships • participation • paycheck • perseverance • safe bet • stress • well-being
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