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Work/Life balance. Or not... - 1 to 11
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Giggity Giggity goo
Thu 6th Dec '07 12:23PM
2708 Posts
Amanshu's Avatar
Member Since
25th Aug '04
Maybe it's because I don't have one at the moment, but I was wondering what the general consensus was about a work/life balance?

Personally at the moment I don't really have one. I start work on Monday morning and I finish on Friday evening. If I'm lucky. This has it's perks, but not many. When I do have a weekend I do my best to see as many friends as possible and do all the little jobs that need doing, like laundry and stuff.

However whenever it gets too much I always find myself imagining a bunch of cavemen sitting around complaining because they had to hunt all the time and they never got time to spend with their families. For some reason this motivates me. I guess because in that sense we have no need for a balance. We've evolved to deal with the constant stress we need to survive.

The obvious counter-argument is that life, and the stress associated with it have evolved into something new, and something different. These days stress is much more constant and we need time away from it to relax, hence the need for some sort of balance between work and home.

So, do people think it's a good thing to have, or a pointless idea? And what makes a good work/life balance?

There's no pee in catheter!
Thu 6th Dec '07 12:35PM
811 Posts
Agentgonzo's Avatar
Member Since
8th Aug '06

Amanshu was bold enough to comment:
However whenever it gets too much I always find myself imagining a bunch of cavemen sitting around complaining because they had to hunt all the time and they never got time to spend with their families.


So, do people think it's a good thing to have, or a pointless idea? And what makes a good work/life balance?

Yes, you need one. The right balance (for me) is enough work to earn the money that I need to enjoy myself and not be bored during the day, but not too much that it interferes with me enjoying myself.

You really need to get out of that role and leave London.

Anyway, shouldn't you be working?

Allen Key
Stagnating, like a packet of crisps on the roof.
Thu 6th Dec '07 1:16PM
510 Posts
Allen Key's Avatar
Member Since
10th Oct '04

Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:
The right balance (for me) is enough work to earn the money that I need to enjoy myself and not be bored during the day, but not too much that it interferes with me enjoying myself.

For me too.

The company I work for has recently been sold and we've all been transferred to the purchaser's books. At our induction last week our new CEO made it clear that his priority would always be his family life, and that the same should apply to us (should we so choose, of course). That made me happy

Personally, I've always been entirely devoid of any kind of ambition career-wise. Somehow I've always assumed that any achievements I might make would happen outside of work, and that my day-job (whatever that might be) would just be a means to an end.

I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Thu 6th Dec '07 1:47PM
505 Posts
Mrsham's Avatar
Member Since
5th Jan '07
Don't get me started (my current job and me have something of a hate-hate relationship, but I'm leaving at the end of January).

This will sound starry-eyed -- possibly because it is -- but I'm looking for a job where I feel like I'm living while I'm at work as well as in the rest of my time. I must admit that this is not working too well for me at the moment, but I remain optimistic.

Anyway before this gets too gloomy, and to give a more direct answer -- my current role involves me consistently pulling long hours, and it's primarily for this reason that I'm leaving (there are many other secondary reasons), and I think this would be the case irrespective of how much I enjoyed the job. It's mostly my time with friends I don't live with that suffers -- as well as my blood pressure I suspect -- as I otherwise prioritise Ladybird and church stuff.

I guess how you define a good balance is uniquely dependent on exactly what you value, your psychological makeup, and what other responsibilities you have on your plate. (Not all work is paid!)

EDIT: As I'm one of the youngest members of the forum, you can probably safely ignore my views on this issue as it's all a bit new to me still

Windows Bob - the best!
Thu 6th Dec '07 1:52PM
4213 Posts
General's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
Does your work define you, is it what makes you, you. Would you still be doing it if you won the lottery?

If the answer is yes then effectively your work is your life and you can throw yourself into it with complete abandon if the answer is no then you should be doing the amount of work that you are paid to do and not significantly more.

So many employers take people on on the basis of a 8 x 5 week and then routinely expect that people will work unpaid overtime and weekends without any recompense. The UK has a culture of presenteeism where even to confess that you work the hours that you are contracted to work implies that you are some kind of slacker.

Interestingly I remember reading and article by an anthropologist recently who suggested that cave men might have had more free time than we currently do.

Even red onions have a silver lining
Thu 6th Dec '07 3:27PM
838 Posts
Clara's Avatar
Member Since
27th Sep '04
I consider myself really lucky in that I love my job, but it is also the kind of job that I very rarely have to take home with me. I could never sacrifice my leisure time to do work stuff - even when I was studying full time for my MSc (job related) and working part time, I worked like crazy on my 'free' Fridays so that I could have my weekends free.

It amazes me when some of our library assistants, who have zero responsibility, tell me that they lay awake at night worrying about work stuff. We do an important job, but it's not life and death. I think pretty much all of our librarians (including me) take pride in our work when we are there but don't worry about it when we aren't. If something goes wrong, it's not like we've amputated the wrong leg!

And I ALWAYS claim back my flexitime!

All this thinking has gone to our heads
Thu 6th Dec '07 9:22PM
366 Posts
Jog_Eerie's Avatar
Member Since
15th Apr '03
This is something that I often mull ove.

I am lucky enough love my job, especially at the moment. I find it interesting, fulfilling, stressful, time consuming and engrossing.

When this first started to happen, I worried about it and thought I was going to turn into a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.

Maybe I am, but I now realise that, if I did less work, I'd have to find something else equally fulfilling and absorbing to replace it.

I was interviewing Trevor Beattie (of FCUK fame) about a month ago and he said the phrase of work/life balance annoyed him because it assumed that life was only something you experienced when you weren't working.

He said he was all for mixing everything up together and seeing it all as life. That way, he said, interesting things start to happen.

If your work makes you happy, I think he has a point.

Misses his big brother :(
Sun 11th May '08 7:32PM
4597 Posts
Spanners's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
I've been wondering about this a lot recently since starting a new job where I effectively work and extra hour a day (8.5 hour days with only half an hour for lunch) plus I will soon be doing an occasional shift back at the good old BBC. It concerned me at first that it would be too much 'work' and knacker me out and make me feel like I didn't have a personal life anymore.
However I'm now more of the feeling that if you enjoy what you do, be it work or play, then hey, who cares?
The extra work I do is only really replacing work I do for fun on various websites or projects I do for a couple of charities I help out. Yeah the social aspect is important and you have to make time to see friends and switch off the brain for a while but happiness is happiness in my book.

Windows Bob - the best!
Mon 12th May '08 12:50PM
4213 Posts
General's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
Most of the people I know who have very cool jobs like producing radio shows and the like seem to work 12 hour days and come in on weekends etc.
I think for that kind of thing work and life become interchangeable and you have to love it. When people hate their jobs and work those kind of hours I just don't get it.

Mrs Spanners if you please.
Mon 12th May '08 7:10PM
288 Posts
Magina's Avatar
Member Since
18th Apr '06
I have also been thinking about work/life balance a lot recently.

Last year I landed what i thought was my dream job... it was challenging, fun, with career prospects and a lot of freedom to execute my own ideas. As a result I invested a lot of time and energy into my new position; I'm not someone who does things halfheartedly.

This was all wonderfull to start with... I finally had a job I enjoyed, that challenged me and held a promising future so I was happy to invest the time and energy. As most would in this position I guess I developed a kind of emotional attachment to my job... I did it everyday, it was something I greatly enjoyed and thought about constantly.

However, before long it became clear that things were not all rosy, I won't go into details as I don't believe it's necessary at this point, but I started having some difficulty with a member of staff, the only other member of staff in the office, the only person I worked with. This has since escalated, again I won't go into too many details, I'm off work and wil be for the foreseeable future with 'stress', and am having to fight, with the help of the union, to keep my job/a job within the company.

Because I had become emotionally involved/engrossed in my job when things went wrong I fell all the harder. I had started to obsess over the problems at work; I was unable to leave them at work, I had dreams about them and started to dread Monday mornings from Saturday afternoons. My job had taken over my life and, even worse, all this had started to take its toll on the people i love.

In light of this I'd have to say when you love what you do/do what you love it's a wonderful feeling and I'm all for it! but it's important to remember that the job is not you, it's something you do, not an approximation of, or extension of yourself.

Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Mon 12th May '08 7:20PM
4678 Posts
Demian's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
Wise words indeed, Mags. I hope you're feeling better soon.

I've recently been lucky enough to land a job I actually enjoy doing for the first time in my life, and as a result really don't mind getting up an hour earlier each morning to get to it. I suspect a formula can be derived along the lines of

(enjoyment x renumeration) / hours worked including travelling time.

Now all we need is to define SI units for happiness

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