Work Life Balance? What?


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At some point of time, you must have come across the discussion about work-life balance. During initial few years of my career, I too participated in numerous such discussions which usually ended with thoughts like,

  • Yes, it is very important. Need more time for myself.
  • Wouldn’t take work too seriously now.
  • Would leave office on time whatever it may be.
  • It’s time to (re)focus on my hobbies.
  • and so on …

Sounds familiar. Isn’t it? Such resolutions hardly last for a few days and things go back to the way they were pretty soon. And then after every few weeks or months, people find themselves having same discussion over and over again with little or no significant change in their “life”.

Over the years, I realised that there is no such thing as work-life balance. The reason we talk about it and give it much importance is due to the fact that most of us find nature of work we do and/or the work environment itself stressful. So, the point of discussion should rather be – why go through that stress? Or how to get rid of that stress?

Unfortunately, we tend to look at work and life as two contradictory things. We fail to realise that work is an integral part of our life, as integral as any other “life” activity, e.g. playing or doing things we really enjoy. In my experience, work-life balance comes into picture only when one doesn’t enjoy the work (s)he does due to whatever reasons. If you enjoy your work and passionate about it then it can almost never be stressful and you wouldn’t ever think about work-life balance.

Think about it – if you love your work then you would be a happier person and it would reflect in your “life”. On the other hand, if you don’t like your work then at some point it would result in stress and you would go looking for work-life balance. You might say I am talking about an ideal world where everyone has a dream job, one which they truly enjoy. Probably yes. In real world, one needs to make compromises and have to do work even if they don’t enjoy it due to various reasons.

But in a good number of cases, one can find happiness in their work with some adjustments. For example, if you do not like your current profile, you can always ask for change in role and responsibilities. Ask and your shall receive. Yes, it is as simple as that. And if that doesn’t work out, you can always change the job. But the irony with changing jobs is that most people start looking for a change for right reasons but end up choosing a new job based on the monetary increment they receive by the new employer. In most such cases, soon after they realise that they are “trapped” in the same situation. You should always change jobs for the right reasons and money should rarely be one of them.

And if you feel no one can help you with the kind of job you wish to do then it’s probably time you take things in your own hands.

Good luck!

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