Posts Tagged ‘Work and Family’

Waking up to the beating rhythm of a pounding headache, stumbling into the bathroom and staring at myself in the mirror… the shocking whiteness of my roots are flashing back at me in their luminous brightness. I feel every hour of my 37 years.

(Sorry, if you thought that this will be about something profound then I will have to disappoint you. Trust me… in this moment I would not be able to debate anything in a cultural or social context in an intelligent matter.)

Bright white roots reminding me that I am no spring chicken anymore. Combined with a sore stiff shoulder due to a badly executed dive-roll (yes I know, my own fault) and dark heavy bags under my eyes and a lingering migraine … I cannot even blame some mad party from last night.

Alright… que the sad violins…

Lament over.

So now I am sitting here trying to look at this from the other side. Migraine medication kicking in is also helping…

I got my first white hair when I was 20 (damn those genes!). I am however supporting the local economy by spending a substantial amount of money at the hairdresser.

Those same genes have also given me a somewhat “looking a bit younger than I am” ( just not today… though considering the rest of the family I might be somewhat reassured for the future).

The humongous bags under my eyes and headache are more likely from work stress and spending too much time last night playing the Xbox. The work situation is shortly to change for the better and gaming… well it is kinda fun.

My healthier living (… not perfected yet) and work-outs and therefore weight-loss is going OK, albeit very slowly. I do enjoy it and you will find me in the gym first thing tomorrow again. The fact is that I am getting to a point where I am fitter than I have been for many years and I never thought I would say that at 37.

I am also the luckiest person alive because I have some of the most amazing people as friends.

So all in all… life is pretty good.

Now excuse me, I have to book that hairdresser appointment.



Balancing Act

Image by Digitalnative via Flickr

One of the buzz words heard a lot around offices these days is “work-life balance”. In many ways it is more important today than ever before. The economic situation of today means that people have to put in more hours, work harder, for less pay then before it all went downhill. The pressure is on. The days when you just changed jobs whenever your current position felt boring or when you wanted a significant salary increase are no longer there for most. Today, if you have a decent job, you stick with it. You deal with the pressure and pray that you still have a job in the foreseeable future. People worry about paying their bills, their mortgage/rent and they worry about the future for their families.

New problems arise. People feel pushed. There is always more to do, more hours to put in, tighter deadlines to adhere to. Burn-out becomes a reality.

A burned-out employee is not something anyone wants. It is costly, cause’s performance issues and any decent employer realises that the health implications which this brings should be avoided for everyone’s sake.

Hence the buzz around work-life balance.

What is important to remember is that WLB is not just something that can be thrown out there as a concept. It requires action. Both from the employer as well as the employee. The employer must enable a work-life balance by realizing that changes must happen internally. Listening to the employees is important. Let them vent all these things that are frustrating them. Let them do so in an environment where they can feel safe to do so without fear of any retribution. Then ensure that all together can look into what actions realistically can be taken. What is possible to change and how to do so.

Employees also carry part of the responsibility towards their own WLB. Just moaning about things helps no-one. You need to actively engage with peers and management to see what challengers are there, what can be done differently and what can be solved. Sometimes the ball has to be dropped. Sometimes you have to realize that you cannot be everywhere or do everything. If you do not set the right expectations and actually say “NO” then nothing will change. No-one will force you off that laptop. No-one will magically source additional people to help you. BUT you have to be able to rely on that your points are taken seriously by your management team. That the concerns are understood and that there is a real desire to address change.

If this does not happen from both sides then WLB will just continue to be a buzz word with no real change happening at all. It will just turn into a joke.

For me this is an on-going issue. I am still trying to find a balance. Sometimes WLB is hard. It can be really hard to achieve. One step at a time… and hopefullyI will be able to catch my breath sooner rather than later.