August 11, 2016
There’s something romantic about working 80+ hours a week. The dedicated corporate warrior climbing the ladder one long work week after another. And then at some point the long weeks lose their luster and you realize you aren’t climbing the ladder you’re drowning. So how do you create a work-life balance from the start so you don’t burn out?
Start with your job search.
If you’re currently searching for a job make work-life balance a priority. Before you apply what are the ratings on Glassdoor? Do you know anyone who has worked at the company or can you network with someone who is currently or previously worked there? Do your homework to discover what the organizations philosophy towards work and play is.
How to set appropriate boundaries.
Balance is all about communication. As Steve said there are certain seasons which may be busier than others. Just because you’re working a lot during one given season doesn’t mean the rest of the year is that way. It’s helpful to first understand what other employees in the organization are doing before you set up boundaries, so that you know what is appropriate.
If everyone in the company is working 50 hours or more a week it’s inappropriate to try and set a boundary around 40 hours. Ashley from Cardinal Health put it this way, “I would encourage you to have a conversation with your manager if this consistently occurs. Let your manager know that you have noticed that you're always the first to leave and want to ensure you are carrying a fair workload. Let him/her know that you are ready and willing to take on additional work.” Full Quote
Setting boundaries is all about communication and observation.
When you’re already in an organization filled with workaholics.
The unfortunate reality is you may already be in a company filled with workaholics and relentless tendencies. If you’re in this spot and your drowning it may be time to take drastic measures.
Steve from Caterpillar puts it like this, “This is a difficult position to be in. Before taking any action, you should take time to thoroughly evaluate your options, and this will include taking a very introspective look at yourself. First, are there other opportunities within your current company. Also, is your set of skills one that is in demand in the job market right now. Next, how flexible are you in where you work. And lastly, what is the general philosophy of your company around work/life balance. If your company generally pushes for this balance, I would recommend having a conversation with your human resources department to obtain guidance on how to address this matter.” Full Quote
Bottom line work-life balance is a vital element to being successful in your career. If you’re not currently in an organization which values this balance it’s time to have a conversation. If change doesn’t occur after the conversation it may be time to look elsewhere. Time is the only resource you can’t get more of. You can always get another job.