The Leader’s Series on work/life perspectives is a hit. The first three posts have been incredibly successful and generated quite a bit of discussion. The first was ‘Work/Life Integration‘ by Eric Winegardner, the second was ‘Work/Life Unity‘ which I wrote, and third was ‘Work, Life, and Life/Work‘ by Bill Boorman.
Today is a special post on work/life blend by Leanne Chase. Leanne is the founder of Career Life Connection, a business dedicated to connecting employers and potential employees in discussions about flexibility. It also provides a platform for employers to post jobs where flexibility is valued and for job seekers to find a job that has the type of flexibility that will work with their life. These employers understand that a more flexible work environment can lead to employees who are more fulfilled, loyal, and productive. Be sure to check out Career Life Connection.
With that, I give you Leanne.
I really do think some of the ways we think about work/life are generational. These are gross generalizations…but that doesn’t mean they don’t still hold true. For example:
- Gen Y women are asking about maternity leave policies right out of college.
- Gen X prefers to work where and when they want and be left alone to do so as long as they do their work well and on time.
- Boomers are notorious for separating work and life as two distinct and separate worlds – until now when they are interested in retiring but not interested in stopping work altogether.
Enough on that – now on to my work/life blend. It is truly a blend and has been for more than 20 years for me.
I can thank workplace flexibility for my graduate school degree in my 20’s. The company I worked for paid for my tuition. They gave me time off during the business day to take classes (I’m talking 1-4p classes each semester – not leaving early for a 4:30p class) and I worked into the night to complete my tasks.
Later in life companies I worked for recognized that some things are more important than filling a chair 9a-5p – like family. My Dad had significant heart disease since my teenage years. While his health was a slow-moving roller coaster it was a roller coaster none-the-less. Most of the companies I worked for during that time understood that being with him in critical times was better for me (and in the long run for them) than being in the office. One employer didn’t get it…I left.
But I have also understood that it is my responsibility to manage my work-life blend and that it is all in my control. For instance I took a year off from working all together to travel the world with my husband. We had been going at breakneck pace in our careers and saw little of each other. After 8 years together we decided to put on the brakes and actually spend some time together. It was great and our work lives did not suffer long term effects from taking time off.
Now that I am a mom my work/life blend has truly ramped up. There are daily responsibilities at home now that cannot wait. They need attention. For that reason I, like many others, have left corporate America to start my own business. It gives me the autonomy I need and want to manage my work/life blend. There are days I would much rather have a boss than be the boss…but for now it is not worth the trade offs. I am encouraged by some of the steps being taken in the corporate world to try to work in work/life blend and hold others accountable for their actions. I saw this article about workplace flexibility just today. Imagine holding a vendor accountable for how they treat their employees? A new era is dawning…I’m very excited to see how it evolves.
Thank you to Leanne for her thoughts on work/life flexibility. Please take time to leave a comment for her.