Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Work Life Balance

The April 2005 issue of Fast Company ( covered "extreme jobs" where people love their job so much everything else shrinks away in comparison. The comments regarding that issue were almost entirely dismissive. And I had to agree.

I believe it is possible to love your job in the context of your life. It requires absolutely clear goals and recommitment to them when work starts to suck at you.

When most people were farmers or tradesman with the odd lawyer, doctor and pastor (think Little House on the Prairie), our life and work were one. Our children knew what we were doing because they were with us and helping us.

Today, good luck describing a corporate job. Both my dad and my husband's dad were corporate dudes ranging from middle to upper management. Their jobs were difficult to define--I audit, I hire and fire, I sell copy machines, I help people not be mad when their car is screwed up by a dealer. What?

Essentially our moms raised us as both our dads travelled hither and thither doing what they did. While I'm not sure how they feel about their trade-offs, I know how we felt as kids. We hated it.

So we chose a different way. We aren't alone. When we take our kids to the park, moms and dads are there with their kids. Many who love their jobs are not willing to ignore one aspect of their life to totally focus on another.

The problem is that the peak creative years tend to coincide with the peak creative years business-wise. I see many in their 50's slowing down, not desiring to dedicate so much time to work, but is that because their lives were so out-of-whack before or are they just tired?

I won't know myself 'til I get there, but I have big plans for me after the kids are out of the house--they include things like writing a blog uninterrupted, for one.

But for now, I refuse to be an observer of my children's childhood (or just have one kid so I can get back to work sooner). I want to participate. So does my husband. For us, that has meant delayed gratification...waiting on the ideal house, extended tropical vacations, the Mini Cooper (ever try fitting a car seat in one of those?).

For me, my job outside the home serves one purpose and that is to serve my family's needs. I LOVE MY JOB, but because of the way our modern society is set I have to prioritize. And I have made my easy (not simple) choice.
More blogs about the woodlands rita.