Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Creating a meaningful work and life balance – 2: while working in a rapidly changing context

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on April 10, 2011

This is my second posting in a series on the problems and issues of creating a sustaining and sustainable work/life balance and I write it picking up on a point I briefly mentioned in part 1.

It used to be that an employee could and would expect to work with the same employer and on a single, relatively clearly delineated career path through most if not all of their work life. Now change is the rule and most all of us can find ourselves working on jobs that did not even exist five years earlier, and certainly where work priorities and resources available are concerned. For many of us these new jobs may not have existed at all until recently. Just consider jobs in or strongly dependent on information technology to find a host of working examples of that. I am currently doing a great deal of work in social media, and in ways that did not exist as a job type even just a couple of years ago.

We all have to think and plan our careers as entrepreneurs and consultants, and we all have to think, plan and develop our careers with ongoing change in mind.

This means never taking the here and now for granted and particularly where it is a comfortable here and now. That can, however, easily lead to always feeing you are on-call and that you can never fully disengage and simply pull back and switch focus to your private life. I will be discussing some of the consequences of the all the time and everywhere available and connected of our emerging ubiquitous computing and communications capabilities in part 3. That, as I will discuss next time is about the How of this. This posting starts with one of the larger About What issues.

• Yes, it is important that you not slip into ruts of unexamined expectations and unconsidered activity in your work. You do need to keep looking at what you do, how you do it and why, as if with fresh eyes. And you need to keep an eye on trends and possibilities and on emerging opportunities too. But unless you want to burn yourself out, you need to keep this in perspective too.
• Develop and follow through on personal and private life goals and priorities too, and for yourself and for your family, and as you participate outside of work in your community. Plan time for this and for yourself and make this side of your life and you a priority too.

I know too many people whose lives seem to begin and end with their work. That is not a new phenomenon but it is becoming a lot easier a trap to fall into as we have found it easier and easier to always be connected. And people who do this loose out in their personal lives, and they also tend to loose out on their professional lives too. They can loose track of the big picture and the wider perspective from the steady, constant flow of detail they are submerged in, and in the myopic vision of the entirely immediate here and now. A richer and more active non-work life can give you the distance and perspective you would need to really see potential opportunities and their meaning and value and for your current job and your work life and overall career too.

As indicated above, in part 3 of this series I am going to focus on the way we communicate and share using ubiquitous resources. I will outline some of the problems and issues and suggest some approaches for resolving them in your favor and to your long term benefit.

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