Two lives

From time to time, you still hear the expression ‘work-life balance’.

I was never sure of its import.

Does it mean that you should only work the minimum number of hours? Or, perhaps, that work should inform how you live you life outside of work? Neither, I suspect. And it certainly isn’t imbued with a matriarchal sense of well being. If nothing else, very few employers are remotely interested in your life outside of work.

The problem is that few people enjoy what they do sufficient to blend work with their real life. In fact, any sane person wants to establish the widest line of demarcation. That said, nowadays, and rather depressingly, many people are defined by their work. That’s because they are incapable of switching off, and have nothing else to talk about.

When we are children we are told to pursue our passion – some parents/teachers say this with greater sincerity than others – in the hope, presumably, we will come to a place where we won’t feel that we are going to work. They assume that the zenith of our (short) lives will be to coalesce our passion for work with everything else. But, of course, we know that that dream is shattered when we turn up to work, day after stultifying day.

As I indicated previously, if you were working in a “life success company” just think how different it might be if you had even a slim chance of pursuing your life goals and your career aspirations.

Of course, I don’t expect anything I say to come as a surprise, but my plea is that given the way employees are asked to do more and more for less and less, isn’t it about time that a more informed debate is had about how to harness the potential that lies within every single company? If not, then frankly we are deluding ourselves in thinking that work is ever likely to be anything more than work?

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