I love stories. I love hearing them and I love telling them. In another life when I was a recruiter, the single reason I stayed in the profession for so many years was the chance to sit down several times a day and ask people, “So tell me your story.” Why people do what they do and how they got there gives me endless fascination and joy.
When I started this blog, one of the things I intended was for this to be a gathering place for stories of how people integrate their work and their lives. Or rather, how we live. For some people it’s a segregationist approach. For others it is an interplay or seamless flow between worlds.
Work in this context can mean home-schooling your five children or running your household. Or it could mean you’re a senior partner in a professional services firm. Or an educator in public school. Or an entrepreneur with employees from 1 (you) to the thousands. Or it could mean a plethora of other things.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the stories here. It starts with a simple question. “Why do you do what you do?” through the lens of “Work. Life. Balance.” We’ll be hearing from stay at home and work at home parents, women and men in the senior ranks of the corporate world, single people, retired people. In short, a brief cross section of work+life stories and how people make it all happen. Family, education, paid work, volunteer work, social lives. Life.
Earlier this week, I spent a few hours with an incredible group of people who research, write, teach and live the work+life balance field. There were many important conversations around the table, but as I clarify my take aways, it comes down to this. There is no one size fits all. There is no cookie cutter approach. The new dawn of work in the Western world is a cafeteria of choices and options. It is a lot for organizations to get their heads around, yes. But they will not be competitive unless they do.
The rest of us are scrambling to make up the rules for our own games, let alone the entire economy. And that brings me back to story telling. We need to hear about how others approach this. Who has fought what battles and how they asked and got what they needed; from their spouse, from their organization, even from themselves.
Taking personal responsibility and accountability for our own work life balance is the single most important step we each can take. My thoughts for work place reform are always under the umbrella of individual ownership of choices and in the framework of doing profitable, sustainable business. I just want to make sure the choices exist. And that we have the tools and education we need across socio-economic levels to enable us to ask.
We’ll kick off next week with Amy-lu Jameson, a work from home mother of three and top-notch young adult fiction literary agent. You’ll love meeting her.
If you know of someone who has a great work life balance story to share, please contact me at chrysula (at) gmail (dot) com. In the meantime, be sure you don’t miss anything by signing up to receive my posts by email in the top right hand corner of the page.