Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Balancing Work and Life (Guest Post by Jack Meyers)



I am not really sure that having a healthy work/life balance can be done in my opinion. It seems like on occasions something has to fall between the cracks and you choose which it will be. I know that throughout my life I have had to choose on many occasions between my job and my children. That seems to be the biggest compromise there is when you are talking about work and life. Everything else can be pretty much put on hold until it comes to our children.
 
Throughout my work history I have watched how many people deal with this dilemma. Once in a while it was a man dealing with family issues but more often than not it was the woman who had a big decision to make. There were a few women I knew that were in positions of power and I was aware that their husbands would take on the greater role as caregiver. And I have even been privy to the couples who are both in positions of power that take turns in the family responsibilities.
 

Balancing Work and Life Depends on Your Boss

I have noticed in the various positions I have held that it depends quite a bit on who is in charge. And it also depends on whether or not people take advantage of the one in charge. Some bosses are completely fair and concerned about their employee’s family lives and situations and others do not care and feel that the job is the job and home is home and the two should not be mixed. Kind of like the debate between church and state, should they overlap? Sometimes they must because they are issues that we all must deal with.
 
My personal feelings on the matter are that you need to make up your mind in advance what priorities you are going to put in place. Unless you are destitute and have no other means you must decide who gets priority. I know we all need our jobs but depending on our qualifications some of us are able to change our place of employment if the rules are totally outside of our comfort zone concerning our families. Others are not quite so blessed and even then you must have a plan B when it comes to your children. You must find some safe and loving haven for your children where they can find comfort when they are sick if you can not be there yourself.
 
I actually had a supervisor (who was also a woman) state that our company had a provision for very sick or contagious children, that I should drop my very young child off at the participating hospital while I came to work. There may be some of you out there that think that is not a bad idea. My child had a really annoying case of chicken pox, they were only about six years old, and the hospital in question was miles away from home and we live in a very large metropolitan area. She also had young children but the husband worked near their home and she had extended family members who lived near her who were always more than happy to help her out. She said I might be affecting my career by taking time off to be with my sick child. I stayed home with my baby and I did not even blink an eye.
 

Having Children Changes Your Priorities

I know there are those of you who think quite differently than I do and I suppose that is what makes the world go around as they say. But when I decided to have children I decided also that I wanted to be a part of their lives. I would have stayed home if I could have but the circumstances did not allow me to do so. My career did not suffer any loss as far as I was concerned but I was not out to make manager or vice president. My children were the reason I was working and spending time with them was the most important thing I could do.
 
So about this matter of balancing life and family I suppose it all boils down to priorities. I think that is something that needs to be considered before ever having children in the first place. Think about what your priorities are and what you are willing to sacrifice because when you have children and work it sometimes calls for a sacrifice of one or the other. God willing we have extremely healthy children and it will not come up very often but you must realize that sometimes a compromise must be made.
 
 

If You Want Work/Life Balance, Work for the Right Employer

 
You need to know where your employer stands on issues of the heart and home before a situation arises and always, always try to have a plan B. Life is full of surprises, kind of like the box of chocolates that Forest Gump was always talking about. Things happen not only with our children but also when we need to be home for a plumber, a cable company, or any service that is opened nine to five just like your job.
 
I am a people watcher by nature and the way to figure out a boss (unless they have a reputation that precedes them) is to see first of all if they have any life at all of their own. I once worked for a fellow that was a confirmed bachelor, did not like kids, worked twelve or more hours a day and even spent the night on the couch in his office from time to time. How do you think taking time off for the sake of your children would go over with that guy? You are doomed from the start. People tend to have the same expectations for their employees as they have for themselves. Your best bosses have children themselves but sometimes even those bosses are inconsiderate because they have a spouse that stays home and they really do not know what it takes to work and be responsible for a child. In other words they are pretty self-absorbed and think everyone’s life is like their own.
 
When you work for a large company and get moved around from supervisor to supervisor over the years as I did you cannot always pick and choose what kind of person is in charge. However, if the benefits are good enough and you have enough vacation and sick time there is not much they can do about your taking the time that is coming to you. Most large companies have personal time for doctor’s appointments and taking care of things from time to time. But I have also worked for small companies and they do not have those benefits in place, which makes it so much more difficult. And if you are out there working for minimum wage without benefits then you know that any time lost comes off your pay check.
 

Balance May Be Impossible, but You Can Remain Sane if You Plan

The scales of life are very seldom balanced evenly in my opinion and sometimes you have to improvise. You can however tip the scales in your favor by planning for all contingencies and be prepared as much as possible beforehand. Jobs are important, children are precious, life happens.
 

Author Bio:

 

Jack Meyers is a regular contributor for www.nannybackgroundcheck.com. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.

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