Businessolver Blog

Work-Life Balance is a Joke!

Work-Life Balance is a Joke!
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2014 by Businessolver Team

Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed at your job today – like you don’t have enough hours in the day, you’re working tons of hours a week, you can’t unplug at home, etc. I’ve said these things, I’ve lived these statements. Living this way is amazingly draining, frustrating and just overall depressing!

To this, I offer a story about a simple answer to the overly complicated labyrinth of the “work-life” balancing act. Warning, the simple answer still requires hard work!

“Work-life” balance is about two principles ONLY:

1. Know what you’re working for

2. Choose to control your life

Get those two items down and “work-life” balance happens, because you make it happen.

This is based on my 35 years of research, or more accurately my life of observing one of the hardest working people I know, my dad.

My dad was a self-employed carpenter who worked 50 hours a week swinging a hammer. He was and is a master carpenter (which by the way is not like the “self-titled” stars on TV). Because of his hard work, and my mom’s job as City Clerk, my parents were able to scrape together their money to buy a rental house as an investment. This was, and is, my dad’s pension/401k plan by the way.

This rental house, and every future rental home he purchased, required A LOT of work that had to be completed before it could be rented out. That meant when my dad got home after a full days’ work looking sweaty and dirty, he’d grab a quick bite to eat, and we would head to the rental home to work on it together.

Every day my dad would get up, go to work, get home, eat, head to the rental house, head home, shower, sleep and repeat. Weekend bonuses would involve grabbing a bear claw before heading to the rental house to do more work. All in I’d say my dad was working 90 to 120 hours a week.

Some of you may be thinking, “I’m working 90 hours a week now! Big deal!” Awesome if you are and you are happy. This post isn’t for you. This is for those who are struggling to be fulfilled with their 90 hour work week. If you want to know the difference between the two, my dad (90 hours+ a week) never complained about working too hard, he just worked hard.

So how did my dad keep up the crazy pace? For him life was work, and it was what you did if you wanted to help send four kids to college, pay for three daughters weddings, and eventually afford to retire. My dad worked for his family, he worked for his future, and he worked for a purpose. His energy came from clearly knowing what he was working for and he chose to go get it.

What about the “life” portion of the balancing act? Well when my mom told dad to work less and be home more, he worked less and was home more. I’ll never forget sitting at the dinner table Saturday night when Mom said, “Gene, I don’t want you working as much as you are. You can work half a day on Saturday and two nights a week.”

Now, my parents didn’t have the perfect marriage, and this did spark a lively debate. However, guess who worked half a day on Saturday and two nights a week after that conversation? Yep, the marriage proved to be more important than the rentals. My mom needed my dad at home more often, they discussed it and course corrected.

So I offer this simple advice for anyone feeling out of balance: Take a deep breath, take a step back and ask yourself this question:

“What am I working for?”

Get clear on your “why” and you’ll become extremely clear about where you need to be spending your time and effort. The answer may surprise you… maybe the path is working less, working more, changing jobs, or changing roles.

Regardless of how you answer the question your path will be determined by your choices. I choose to work for a purpose. Here is mine: