SWEETNESS & HAPPINESS OF
CAN BE DESTROYED IN ADULTHOOD...
WORK-LIFE BALANCE KNOWLEDGE....
PVAF has been celebrating YOUTH DAYS this
week by running several knowledge based articles on developing your youth into
adulthood.....And today there is a discussion on a perpetual dilemma of
lifestyle in industrial civilization where"
creating wealth becomes an
at a personal cost of
happiness, wife, children, family, relations, friends
ultimately at the cost of that wealth earned at
so much person loss and sacrifice....
D. Quinn Mills is a professor of business administration at Harvard
Business School and the author of Having It All . . . and in
"Making It Work: Six Steps for Putting Both Your Career
and Your Family First" tells YOU how to create wealth and enjoy life
with your loved ones.......Please visit Canadian
Globe and Mail
to read Professor Mills..... or to read Professor Mills on this
PVAF veDik Lifestyle Learning Web Site click
on the next line.....
Work and family:
six steps to having both....
But It's an illusion to think that
balance will create itself.....
By D. QUINN MILLS
Globe and Mail: Friday, May 7, 2004 - Page
I have been a professor at the Harvard Business School for many years. Many
of my friends are now far along in their careers and have deep regrets about how
little of themselves they shared with their spouses and children as they were
Many of my students have told me they are afraid the same thing will happen to
them -- that years from now, they'll finish their careers with deep regret about
all they missed of family life. But other students have an entirely different
concern -- that in a few years, they'll feel compelled to abandon promising
careers to have a family.
Work and family: People struggle so much with giving each their due. I have had
the personal blessing of wonderful children and have struggled with balance for
many years. Over that time, I have discovered several techniques to best manage
the competing demands of work and home.
Here's a six-step, user-friendly action plan to help you find balance between
your work and personal lives.
Step 1: Commit to wanting: both a career and
That means rethinking your priorities. Many people despair of having both a
fulfilling career and a loving family. So they put one in front of the other
and, not surprisingly, never reach a balance between the two. If they put career
first, they end life regretting what they've missed in family life; if they put
family first, they end life regretting what they failed to achieve in their
professional lives. A major purpose of achieving career/family balance is to
live our lives without these serious sorts of regret.
So at the outset, we should decide that we want both a career and a family, and
then go about rethinking our priorities to make both possible.
Step 2: Pursue a process: that creates balance
It's an illusion to think that balance will create itself. It won't; you have to
To do that, we must first and foremost be honest with ourselves about our
priorities. We have to let some things of lesser priority go -- and then be
satisfied with our choices. To attain balance between work and family, we must
establish boundaries early on between the two so that one isn't sacrificed to
the other. And we must define what is success for us, not others, and stick with
it. This decreases the guilt and anxiety that result from second-guessing
Take responsibility for pursuing balance. It will not emerge without effort and
it cannot simply be stumbled upon.
Step 3: Make choices and accept the
Balance means knowing our priorities. For most of us, the two top
priorities are family and career -- so we should be prepared to set other things
aside for them.
That means we have to give up what we don't want badly enough. If we clear the
decks to minimize the choices that will otherwise assail us -- the temptations
to do this or that which generate indecision and tension -- we will learn to say
no without feeling guilty.
If we want to give as much to our families and our careers as we can, we must
minimize the tradeoffs between them. Tradeoffs are always a win-lose situation
because we're choosing between our first priorities. But it is not win-lose to
choose between our first and second priorities. When we give up something of
secondary importance to get something of major importance, that's a win, not a
Once we've made our choices, we should be satisfied with them. Feelings of guilt
and anxiety result from second-guessing ourselves. Letting go of the things we
don't want badly enough shouldn't result in any guilt when we say no. We should
be proud of ourselves for saying no because we've saved time for the things most
important to us.
Balance comes from being happy with what we've chosen.
Step 4: Choose a career: that supports balance
It is crucial that we choose a career path wisely.
Some careers simply don't permit us to attain balance. It's another dreadful
illusion to believe that we can choose whatever job or career we like best
without regard to our families, and can somehow find time for our families, too.
In reality, we have to choose our jobs and careers carefully to be sure they
permit us to have enough time for our families.
Not all careers provide the possibility for balance -- some require too much
time at work; some require too much travel; some impose too much emotional
strain. We must choose careers in which balancing actions are possible.
If we don't have balance in our current work situation, we can stay and try to
change the corporate culture of our current work place; move laterally within
the organization; or, if all else fails, leave.
We must not be afraid to leave our current employment if we aren't given the
space to create balance; otherwise, we risk ending up with regret for all the
things we've missed.
When making a career decision, we must assess the major aspects of the career
path that influence our ability to achieve balance; then we must choose wisely
with balance in mind.
Step 5: Involve your loved ones: in creating
Balance can't be created in a vacuum. It's a significant illusion to think that
we're able to figure out by ourselves what is best for our families. The reality
is that no matter how well-intentioned we are, we can be mistaken about what is
most important to those we love and what they really hope for from us.
For each of us, our family is a team, and it's very important to involve all
team members in decisions that affect the family, especially including our
decisions about our own career/family balance.
So we must make our family a part of our choices. It's too easy to rationalize
our own choices as being in the best interests of our loved ones -- they might
not really be that at all, but merely what it is that we want to do. Involving
our families will help keep us from making serious mistakes.
So we must get acquainted with the expectations and priorities of each family
member. We must stay in the moment. To balance the things that are most
important to us , we must be aware of where we are -- when at home, focus on
family; when at work, focus on work.
We must also make sure that each parent achieves balance between work and
family. Unbalanced parents don't make for a balanced marriage or family.
And we must find creative ways of meeting the needs of our children --and change
them as our kids get older and their needs change.
We simply cannot balance our relationships by ourselves.
Step 6: Review your balance: to retain or
Balance is an achievable destination. But we must review our situations
frequently, because it is easy to get knocked out of balance. You must recognize
that you won't be in a state of balance at every moment -- sometimes work will
take up more time, sometimes family.
Flexibility is crucial. Each of us, from time to time, will need a
back-to-balance plan. You might evaluate your balance twice a year as a family
and monthly as an individual.
It's a mistake to think that we can find balance in our lives and just stay
there. Instead, the circumstances of our lives and those of our loved ones are
always changing, so we have to adapt our efforts to achieve balance continually.
D. Quinn Mills is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business
School and the author of Having It All . . . and Making It Work: Six Steps for
Putting Both Your Career and Your Family First.