WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Work to live

Yes, I have absolutely had enough. I have had enough of struggling to make ends meet. This may seem all surreal to you at this point. After all, I may have mentioned that I do have a rather rewarding career. The highlight of my project-oriented work has always been to see other women get back on their feet. But in recent years, competition for my line of project management and life coaching work grew phenomenally.

So, to stay ahead in the game, you sometimes had to lower the rates you would normally have charged previously. You had to be more flexible and even make a few sacrifices along the way just to secure the new business. As time went by, you grew used to this now-necessary drudge of survival. Did someone just ask whether all this was necessary? Well, good for you. I am glad you asked that question, because, quite frankly, I too have had enough.

Now, the only time that one should be working is because you really enjoy it. To be honest with you, inasmuch as I still consider this job of mine a vocation, I have not been enjoying it much. The only motivations for getting up in the morning became a case of, well, if I don’t get the work done, I won’t get paid. It became less and less of a desire to see to it that I could end a project with flourish, leaving a previously troubled client all happy and smiling.

All that must change. We all need to work. And I do understand why, believe me I do. I am still in the same boat as many of you. Bringing about necessary changes to restore a healthy balance between work and personal life won’t be easy at first, but I feel optimistic about this. I have heard and watched others say and do these things. And the results have been mostly positive. For instance, one client gave up her well-paying job at a top design studio.

Why? It wasn’t about the money at all. Like I said, she was paid well. But her work schedule was too demanding. Also, her manager was unreasonable and impractical, often dispensing incoherent instructions at the worst time of the day. Like around five in the evening when it is time to wrap up and go home. Her biggest unhappiness was not being able to spend enough time with her family. So, after weeks of serious conversation with her husband about this, she took the plunge.

I would say that this lady is one of the lucky ones. Nevertheless, those of us not so lucky could look towards people like her as a role model and a source of inspiration. Her husband is well established at his firm and his salary is more than enough to take care of the family household. The growing school children are still being taken care of well. And the only sacrifices they had to make were the discarding of some luxuries which the couple found out they weren’t going to miss anyway.

Like cancelling their cable TV subscription. For this lady there wasn’t going to be much time to watch TV anyway. But as busy as she got at home in her spare room behind her sewing machine, in spite of not seeing any positive returns on her startup, she was happy under this new strain. She was doing things her way and she was doing creative work that she believed in and enjoyed the most. Never mind the money, or the lack of it, she was choosing her own work. Best of all, because she was working at home, still putting in the hours, she was seeing a lot more of her family. The kitchen was right next door, and as a typically productive woman, she was able to multitask between last minute stitches and preparing a surprising supper for the family.

She found time for extended breaks from work to go and fetch her kids from school and spend a little more time out with them. Free in the mornings after everyone else had left for work and school, she still had time for housekeeping and even a spot of shopping. Husband, by now, was quite at peace with his own company once the children had finished their homework and gone off to bed. So, another hour at the sewing machine in the evening, if it was necessary or, more importantly, desired, was not going to harm anyone, least of all this fine lady.

Well, I am so glad that I got to divert attention to someone else for a change. It was a positive spin, don’t you think. I don’t know about you, but this lady has given me a little more motivation towards improving my quality of life where work and personal things are concerned.