On work life balance

I came across three articles this Sunday all on the theme of balancing– or, in the best case,  mixing– work and life.

  • Derek Anderson, Founders Are Not Heroes. Let’s Get Back To Work: “Work life balance is less about keeping everything equal as it is making sure everything is in order.”
  • Jackie Coleman and John Coleman, How Two-Career Couples Stay Happy: “The walls between work and a personal life are falling. Finding ways to integrate them thoughtfully can be a professional and personal boon.”
  • Alexis Madrigal takes issue with Matt Richtel’s Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device, the latest NYT redflag about the dangers of technology.
    • Alexis argues that we have “a problem with the way we approach labor, not our devices. Our devices enabled employers to make their employees work 24/7, but it is our strange American political and cultural systems that have allowed them to do so.”
    • Richtel uncovers “a broader effort in the [Silicon] valley to offer counterweights to the fast-paced lifestyle. Many tech firms are teaching meditation and breathing exercises to their staff members to help them slow down and disconnect.

(As I put together this summary I’m watching the Mad Men episode, The Beautiful Girls, in which Don suddenly deals with the presence of his daughter Sally in his workplace. He tries, sorta.)

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One thought on “On work life balance

  1. One piece of language I’m trying to reform is the use of the term “work/life balance.” If language shapes our reality even just a little bit, then “work/life balance” – although its meant to be have positive connotations – must be reinforcing some negative views of life for all of us. Work and life are not somehow distinct “realities” that we can balance. “Work” is surely not meant to be devoid of “life.” Equally, considered, engaged and relational work can surely be part of a highly connected, health-ful life (even potentially a very big part of it). I know the term is coined to try to get us to live in a more “balanced” way but I suspect it simply allows those who see “work” and “life” as mechanically disconnected realities, to continue with that problematic viewpoint – and to continue tinkering with work to make it a “bit more friendly” rather than reforming the notion of work and its part in a whole life..

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