We hear a lot about work-life balance. It is a popular topic for employees and employers alike and is a major concern for employers who are looking to build employee engagement.
For me, the term work-life balance invokes mixed feelings. The concept behind it cannot be faulted but the phrase itself is unfortunate. It implies that you only really start to live outside of your work and thus creates a segregation that is totally inappropriate. Jim Rohn once said, "Here's the goal of the human adventure: the full development of all your potential." Given that most of us spend close to 50% of our waking life at work, work thus has to be a major contributor to our fulfilling our potential. You cannot hope to achieve this if you regard work as something that is separate from life.
In order to have a more fulfilling life, your work has to be something that allows you to develop both as an individual and as a social contributor. Only then can you really begin to come close to fulfilling your potential and "making a difference" that enables you to feel that your life is worthwhile.
So just check out the following tragic story of someone who got it totally wrong. The story is literally incredible, and as you read it you ask yourself, "How could this have happened?" Yet it appears to be totally true. And as you reflect on the tragedy of his personal life, you find yourself asking further questions, like:
- What sort of organisation is this?
- How can people work there?
- What kind of people do work there?
- Did nobody care for this poor fellow?
- In our regimented, working lives have we lost all other primary senses (such as the sense of smell?)
It definitely does not sound like a contender for "best company to work for" and for me as a passionate believer in the organisation as a team it is anathema. But it shows just how soulless work can become and how easy it is to get the balance wrong. Let it be a lesson to us all! We owe it to ourselves, our colleagues and our successors to change the workplace so things like this never happen again!