The concept of work-life balance has been around for a long time, but there’s one aspect of it that really got my attention within the last week. I want to share it with you in case you ever have a similar situation. No regrets–that’s my theme.
I lost a dear friend a few days ago. I knew she’d been having some fairly significant health issues, but I was hoping for a better outcome for her. What struck me was, after I accepted that there wasn’t anything I could have done to change the outcome, I felt a surge of gratitude because I had maintained contact with that friend after I moved from California to Massachusetts. Even more, I was grateful I had made time to visit with her in person right before the cross-country move, despite the hectic pre-move situation we were in at the time.
Where does the balance question come in with regard to career? In my case, career refers to my resume-writing/career-coaching business. During the past week that meant taking some time away from business activities to communicate with another friend about the mutual friend we were losing, which helped both of us feel a bit better about the loss. For example, we were able to share memories of fun times with our friend.
Did I totally abandon my work-related activities? No, of course not. I had obligations to clients, prospective clients, and colleagues that I needed to fulfill. However, the “balance” between the two sides of my life might have looked more than a little skewed if I’d been putting it in graphic form.
What does this mean to you?
Obviously, you need to weigh the relative urgency and importance of work and personal issues when making any major choice. For example, if you have a loved one who’s seriously ill, work matters are almost certainly less significant at that time. Even if you aren’t the primary point of contact, you still want to “be there” for that person.
In such a situation, you might have to look at ways to get work requirements taken care of until you can give them more attention again. Maybe there’s someone (or more than one person) to whom you can delegate portions of your responsibility temporarily.
Take the steps you can as soon as you can, then shift the majority of your focus to your loved one’s needs for as long as necessary.
Yes, career and life balance can be tough, but you do have some options. Just try to implement the ones that are within your power to do and readjust when needed and as you can. On the whole, I believe you’ll find that to be the most satisfying and reassuring path to take.