“In the balance of power between work and life, life is playing a greater role.”
This is a quote in an article from The Wall Street Journal (The New Rules of Success in a Post-Career World, June 3, 2023, pp. C4-5) by Bruce Feiler, based on his new book. Feiler goes on to say:
“Today’s workers are focused as much on the quality of their lives as on the quality of their jobs. Gallup found that millennials and members of Gen Z, who now make up half the workforce, place their greatest emphasis on well-being at work. Deloitte heard from the same group that work/life balance was their number one priority. High salary and other financial benefits came in well behind, with only one in four mentioning it.”
If this speaks to you, yet you find yourself “overworking,” here are some suggestions to make a change:
Be Clear on Your Values. What are your priorities? What do you care about? What kind of life do you want – in its entirety? What kind of work life will support this? You will encounter tradeoff decisions during your career between positions and promotions that may pay more money but require lifestyle changes. Think through these choices ahead of time so you know what you really want.
Reject “Hustle” Culture. Ask about culture during your initial interview. If a company expects everyone to overwork, that is their right. Leaders like Jack Ma and Elon Musk are famous for promoting this. If that is not for you then don’t work there! Get out if you have inadvertently joined that kind of culture.
Learn from the Right Role Models. Find people in your life and in your organization who you think model the kind of life that you want. Ask for their advice and how they have navigated the challenges involved with having an integrated life.
Resist Requests to Overwork. Set boundaries and don’t undermine yourself. We train our environments through our behaviors. If you are sending emails at 2AM or on Saturday evenings, then you are identifying yourself as “always on.” If you want to get emails done during off hours, then que them up to be sent later.
You can have the kind of life and work life that you want. There will be tradeoffs, but you can do it. Use some of these suggestions to work toward your ideal, one step at a time.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Boyes, A. “Resisting the Pressure to Overwork,” Harvard Business Review online, May 26, 2022.