career happiness

Finding a work life balance: Does it really exist?

work life balance

Good morning Loves.  My dad gave me some troubling news yesterday, he told me one of our oldest family friends filed for divorce.  This was a picture perfect couple, they have been married for over 30 years, they have two kids who recently graduated college and growing up they were always the first couple I would call when I was in trouble.  To say this news was shocking would be an understatement, but I guess we just never know what happens behind closed doors.

Is there such thing as a work/life balance?

The couple both had good jobs where they’ve worked for several years and the husband is close to retirement.  I thought to myself, if both kids are moved out they have time for themselves, if they have a house that’s mortgage free and if they are nearing retirement, what is there to fight about?  One word…money.  According to my dad his friend filed for divorce because he wife spends too much time at the office in the day and too much time working from home at night.

I guess that’s the catch 22 about money; you need to work hard to get it, but working too much takes time away from your relationship.  We need money to afford the nice things we want in life, but we have to work hard to earn our money.  So how do you find a work/life balance to maintain a happy marriage?

What if you had to choose just one?

There is a line by Nigel (Stanley Tucci) in the movie The Devil Wears Prada when his co-worker (Anne Hathaway) is complaining about her relationship troubles and he says “Let me know when your entire life goes up in smoke, that means it’s time for a promotion.”  As I watched this movie I wondered if this is true.  Maybe there is no such thing as a work/life balance – maybe we can’t have both, maybe we have to choose one over the other.

Find a balance between your work life and your relationship:

Your home is not  your office.  As one half of a long term couple and as a young professional I can tell you that climbing the corporate ladder is not easy.  You want to put in your hours at work, but you don’t want to neglect your sweetheart at home.  My advice to finding a balance is to stay late if you need to but leave your work at the office, don’t bring it home with you.

Limit your overtime.  The truth of the matter is your work will never be done, we always have work to do.  Don’t make working overtime a habit.  Your spouse will be more understanding about your long hours if working overtime is the exception, not the rule.  Unless you are on a tight deadline try not to stay at the office more than an hour every night and not on Fridays.  It’s important to reserve the weekends for your spouse.

Have something to look forward to at home.  Having plans with your spouse will give you an incentive to rush home after work.  If you have to work late try to coordinate with your spouse on the nights they have to work late and set a time to meet at home or at a restaurant for date night.  If you have somewhere to be or somewhere to go you are more likely to cut yourself off from the office than if you are just “going home”.

Photo from Flickr

1 Comment

  • Having something to look forward to really helps me manage. When I know there is something happy to do at home when I get there, I am less likely to throw myself into work too much.

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