jan_can_too (jan_can_too) wrote,

More on Balance

The various books I’ve read recently for work all include the idea that people who have a life work better. Not surprisingly, those parts of the books are glossed over in our conversations about them. It seems to be the business equivalent of sticking flowers into gun barrels and all living together peacefully—a nice idea, but get real, already.

It’s not that the authors of the books don’t mean it. They are often as surprised by the results of their research as anyone. They’re shocked to find balanced lives producing great businesses. It’s that the readers don’t believe. We read along and go, “Yeah, yeah, and what were those efficiency tips again? How is this going to meet my goals?”

Many of us have read about or know someone who has made a major life change. The high-powered person who had a heart attack and now spends more time with her grandchildren, the chronically sleepless person who gave up the rat race and now teaches in Africa, sleeping like a log under a mosquito net. What’s missing from all those stories is HOW. They’re cluttered up with before and after, with early horror and late bliss.

What I want to see is the messy middle, the part where someone had to do the math about what the job change was going to cost, where the friends and family had to adjust to a new way of being with their loved one. I want to see how tossing the unneeded parts worked. These books are full of case studies of just about everything else, why not this?

And yes, I do have an agenda. I’ve realized that it’s not enough for me to carve out my own balance, but that I need to help the rest of my colleagues toward it as well. This is my job, both as a human being and as an office goddess.

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