Breaking the myth of the Work-Life Balance

By

Siddhartha Rastogi

It’s 5.30 pm in the evening on a busy Monday. You are packing your bags so that you can leave and meet your near and dear ones at home who are waiting for you.

Some of your work is unfinished which perhaps is needed by your colleague or by your superior to finish the project, but who cares. You believe your bosses are jerks because they didn’t support you when you needed that leave, their help, or their kind words of support, instead humiliating you and shouting at you. For years you have got a meager rise in salary and when you raised this with your superiors they shrugged you off stating that You deserve this.

 

Let’s take another situation, which you encounter:

 

It’s 5.30 pm in the evening on a busy Monday. You are going through the files and getting data out, your colleague and your boss are sitting next to you in your cubicle (they came down to your cubicle and didn’t call you in theirs), filling up final words and pics, so that the project can be finished and submitted to the client by 9am on Tuesday. You have not got a raise in years. But every year your boss has given you feedback not yearly but monthly on how the company values you and your work and more importantly how the company is striving to remain relevant and can potentially change the game. If it succeeds, benefits and rewards will be reaped by everyone. Also your boss has allowed you to have flexible hours and work from home, so that you can plan your day, work and time with near and dear ones.

 

Will you now stay back and finish the assignment and submit the same good work to the client?

 

Motivated, cohesive teams are generally ready to put in extra hours and additional work to achieve common goals and then they don’t strive for Work-Life balance.

 

What exactly is meant by Work-Life Balance and why is it so important?

 

The dictionary definition of Work-Life balance is “The division of one’s time and focus between working and family or leisure activities”.

Humans are Community, societal or social animals. They love spending more time at places where they get the feeling of love, respect, appreciation, acknowledgment and they feel safe and secure. The very reason humans live in groups, clans, societies, groups is to achieve those feelings.

 

“The thought of job, work, bosses, office creates anxiety and you think of completion of punishment everyday so that you can fend for your family.

 Isn’t it all about just getting that paycheck and a higher one and a higher one year after year.

And you are ready to go in and finish your duty, blame the failures on others and bosses, cribbing about your present, hoping for a great future so that life continues.”

 

Common feelings prompting you to find shelter elsewhere.

With such thoughts, when you come back home, your kids give you a tight hug, you run that extra mile or you swim that extra lap or you spend that evening drinking beer and whisky with your friends or teaching your kids how to play scrabble or talking to your aged parents or your partner about that day’s work, bitching about office and life and he or she is empathizing with you or reading a new book or watching a new movie or helping the charitable cause you believe in, gives you a high.

 

This HIGH in life balances the LOW of your work place.

 

Do you realize what’s happening here. You are being compelled to get in a situation to earn money to satiate you and your family’s needs and you are running away from an environment where you are feeling insecure, unwanted and you are going in an opposite environment.

 

Let’s turn tables here.

 

What if you have a nagging spouse or partner, your children don’t care for you, your in-laws who live with you are constantly ill and your partner/spouse wish that you should be taking care of them. You like playing golf but there are no golf courses nearby hence you try and walk daily. Your friends who live in the same building as yours like to bitch about other building members. At the same time, you are getting extra responsibility to nurture a team for the future and start a new vertical. Salary and perks remain the same but your boss knows that you are dynamic, adaptable and can handle the new opportunity well.

 

What are you going to do?

 

You will reverse the Work-Life Balance in favour of Work than Life.

 

It’s commonly seen that people tend to work harder and spend more time at the workplace when they are going through tough challenges in their private life like divorce, marital problems, perpetual sickness in the family, etc.

 

Hence the Work-LIFE balance is just a myth and humans keep tilting the balance in favor of Work or Leisure depending on the High we perceive we are achieving from the activity.

 

Why do athletes, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs social workers, men in uniform not talk about Work-LIFE Balance?

The WHY part of it will be covered in my next article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha was born to a learned middle class educated family in Semi Urban India. His father was an extremely honest man who because of his honesty had to pay the price in corporate world. Mother is a determined woman who ensured that children are being well taken care off. After a few years of birth, doctors called Siddhartha, a slow child having flat foot. He would fall more than he could walk. Determined mother ensured all therapies for her son to come out strong to fight the world. Siddhartha joined swimming when he was in 6th standard. Seeing other children of his class, he jumped in 10 feet deep pool and learnt swimming on his own, the very same day.

From that day there was no looking back. He topped his city in 12th and went to score highest in his B school exams. During his profession as banker, he became youngest branch manager of a MNC bank managing their biggest wealth branch in the country. There he found love of his life and got married. His love of his life emerged in the form of his daughter who completely changed him for good.

Siddhartha Rastogi is Director for a boutique Investment bank in India.

Siddhartha is a forward looking thinker & writer who has written a book on decision making. 8 Simple steps to effective decision making.

He writes on various social and current issues via his blog and can also be found on twitter.

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