They teach you to have extracurricular activities in high school. It’s supposed to look good on college applications. Then, they tell you to be involved in college. I have seen resumes that state “maintained full-time job while attending school”. Again, this is supposed to help you get a job because you are well-rounded. But no one ever held a class on what to do when you have a job, plus volunteer work, plus a family, not to mention church, hobbies, and other activities.
So what now? Explain to your boss how important these other activities are to you, and hope that he allows you to take an hour or two here and there to attend to other matters? Sacrifice time with family in order to get the job done? Or only focus on work and family? Or just family? Or just work? This can be a very confusing debate for a Nu Professional.
In the HR arena, “work-life balance” is definitely a buzz word. At the 2009 SHRM National Conference, Jack Welch stated that work-life balance is a personal choice. There seem to be multiple articles coming out every month with new studies on how employers should provide this balance in order to keep their employees happy.
I think that it boils down to what you, the Nu Professional, wants. Here are some suggested steps for balancing your life.
- Set Goals – I am a big – no HUGE – proponent for writing down short-term and long-term goals. Determine what you want to accomplish, then go to step two.
- Get a Map – Decide how you want to accomplish your goals. One of the better ways is to find a mentor that is already there and follow the trail they have already blazed. You may choose different landmarks to visit and places to see, but something they did obviously worked. They’re already there.
- Recruit a Cheerleader – Be it your mentor, parents, friend, spouse, or children. Whoever is in your life has to understand what you are trying to do and be on the same team as you. (Note: You’ll avoid many “discussions” with your significant other if you’re on the same page from the start.)
- Take a hint from Nike and “Just Do It” – It’s up to you and only you to make it happen. It will not be easy. You will make mistakes. And you will make enemies. But it’s not about them – it’s about YOU.
I am in the process of reading 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch. It is supposed to be a great book on how to successfully manage your life. I will let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, if you’ve read it or have suggestions for us Nu Professionals, hit me with a comment.