Aside from who is doing best at the polls, the hot topic in today’s conversation involves the words: work-life balance. Is it a fad? Is there such a thing? Talent expert Brian Mohr says, work-life balance, a push to properly prioritize work in relation to lifestyle, features the kind of fad-ish thinking that can lead gifted people down the wrong path.
I tend to agree.
“Think of those who love their job – for them, it’s not exactly ‘work’ as they exercise their capabilities fully toward a goal that they believe in,” says Mohr, co-founder and managing partner for Y Scouts, a purpose-based leadership search firm.
It’s about finding the right fit; in fact, let’s go a little bit further… When an employee is aligned with the employer’s or their role’s appropriate goal, balance is natural.
Does that mean that a work you is no longer separate from the real you? According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spend 8.8 hours of each day working. (Ahem, much longer than any other activity, including sleep.) If you think about it, work-life balance enforces a strange notion that we are essentially different on the clock than off the clock. Who wants to work around a double-minded personality? Why not be yourself while providing for your well-being and that of your family?
“Costumes are for Halloween,” Mohr says. “In my line of work, I want to offer a leader who is authentic and not some impostor version of who they really are.”
He adds, “Not everyone is working for the weekend. Rather than work-life balance, it’s more helpful to think of your role in a company or nonprofit as work-life symbiosis. Just do the math. Working nearly nine hours in a role that you do not like doesn’t stack up well with two days that quickly pass by. How many years of your life do you want to waste not doing what would make you happier?”
Want to get more real? In today’s world, we simply cannot compartmentalize different areas of our lives like we used to. Smartphones are filled with emails, social media notifications are at a constant bing, text messages constantly come in because they’re somewhat easier for communication [when you don’t want to talk to someone]… in other words, whether it’s the ruminating thoughts in our brains or the software on our phones, we simply don’t turn off work when we leave the office. “We should drop the idea that ‘work’ and ‘life’ are somehow separate. They’re not,” says Mohr.
What does this mean for those who are in pursuit of happiness and some inner peace with work and their overall life? “Everyone owes it to themselves to find the right organization. That means aligning the purpose and values of an organization to the purpose and values of the right people.” As a result, you’ll still want the phone to stop playing its tunes once it hits past five; however, you’ll be more cool and ideally you won’t feel the need to throw the phone out of your car window.
Photo by Lenetstan