Family or Career – How to Balance Work and Life

Leila was an ambitious girl. She was very competitive and always wanted to be the best at whatever she did. She had a very short learning curve and made it to the top in a very short time. She surpassed all expectations until she couldn’t keep up with her own expectations. Within five years of starting a career, she was a Manager with a very bright future.

Then disaster struck. She was diagnosed to having high blood pressure, cholesterol and was fast going into depression.

How serious is competition?

In this highly competitive world, it is very important to be dynamic, fast-paced, and maybe even ruthless. But you mostly end up being ruthless with yourself more than towards others.

Meetings take place of sport, deadlines take place of movies, Stretch hours take place of exercise and Quick bites take place of a full-fledged meal. And before you realize it, you are at the threshold of corporate burn-out.

But if you don’t do any of the above, you stand to face a danger of being left behind. But hey, time-out! If you really take a step behind and watch your life, is it really worth being in competition? Who suffers from the side-affects but you and your family?

How does burn-out affect you?

Some of the downsides of suffering a burn-out are:

  • Stress
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of social life
  • Gastric disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Risk of depression

I am sure you can think of some more.

The all-encompassing family

Faced with a similar Family or Career dilemma, Rashmi decided family was more important. Rashmi thought that she should be available at all times for her child who was now in his growing years. She left her very successful career to be with the child.

Initially she thought it was very rewarding, but the family felt the brunt of her displeasure when she started feeling wasted and extremely unhappy.

Rashmi probably had more time on her hands than was required by her child. She didn’t know what to do when the child was in school and she was left feeling disgruntled and unhappy.

Work life balance

So, it is not just family or career (work) that makes one happy, but a good mixture of both. Having said that, how can one prevent a burn-out in this competitive world?

Stick to your times

We all have a very laid back attitude. The very first step is to track your time in all arenas and plan your work to eliminate these attitudes. No stretch hours also means no extended lunch hours and no extended coffee breaks.

No dilly-dallying with friends, no social networking and no picnicking on office times. Once you get this discipline in, you can easily gain your boss’s confidence that though you don’t stretch, you still get the same amount of work done.

Consider your options, but do not exploit them

Flex timings and work from home options are not very popular in India. But it is mostly our own attitude that makes it so unpopular. If you think that you can get away with not working on a particular day or if you want to work from home, you tend to think that a short nap should be fine, or watching a cricket match should be fine.

But think again before you exploit what little options available to you, because you might not find them available at a real time of need.

Stop trying to over-achieve

Most of us think that the moment we say “No”, we are branded as incompetent. Well, that’s not true. It is better to set up the expectations before hand than to accept work load worth three staff. Over achieving should be looked at with respect to the objectives and not with respect to ability.

Swipe your work clean along with your access card

I try to think of my work as my access card. I like to think that it switches on when I swipe it in and switches off when I swipe it out. It is good to be productive, but not at the cost of family time.

Once you are home, you are a child to someone, a sibling to another, a spouse to another and a parent to yet another. Make time for all these jobs as well.

Keep those healthy practices alive

Never compromise on lunch times and with the exercise routines. While these will help you keep your body fit and healthy, try and nurture a hobby to keep your soul rejuvenated. It is just as important to keep yourself happy as it is to keep others happy.

Take a vacation at least once a year

More often than not, vacations mean money, time and effort. But it will be worth every one of them to reconnect to your family and recharge the cells within you.

Work and Life are like two sides of a coin. Both Family and Career need to co-exist to make a person whole. Once the balance is affected, your life can be disrupted. So, keep these two things intact for a good and wholesome life.

About the Author

Supriya Mothay is a Chartered accountant by profession, with a passion to write. Being an amateur poet and creative writer, she now blogs on topics on finances, lifestyle and mythology. She likes to relate little philosophies to life and has a capability to break down trivial issues at the granular level and arrive at innovative solutions.

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