Taking some time off again this weekend, so I’m returning to a familiar question: Does work-life balance really exist? Some people live to work, others work to live. Your perspective on the question is determined by which you prefer.
Is a “work-life balance” even possible? I’d define that balance as working enough to pay the bills but also having enough time to see to personal commitments or fun after hours. Given the high priority some folks put on their careers or the people struggling to get by on two or more jobs, a number of Americans would say no. In fact, one high-powered aerospace executive I know once referred to the idea of work-life balance as the equivalent of cow manure.
I’ll freely admit that my perspective on this question has changed over the years. It will for you, too. If you’re young and unattached, you might feel the urge to fill that time with work and success. If you’re starting a family, you might want to make sure you and/or your fellow caregiver have time to raise offspring. If you’re like me–further on in your career and have the money and time to work fewer hours–you might choose to do that.
I’ve written about this topic before, but it bears repeating that what “balance” means varies by the person and will vary over time based on personal circumstances. As the lady friend reminded me recently, “No one on their death bed wishes they’d spent more time doing work.” Once you’re able to keep hearth and home together, how much time do you want to devote to work? The answer is, “It depends,” and the best guiding principle I can offer for helping you answer the question is, “Are you happy?”