Do you live to work, or work to live? The answer to this question often lies in how rewarding and enjoyable we find our jobs to be. The more we love our jobs, the more time we might be tempted to spend at work at the expense of our family. If we do not enjoy work, we find we resent the time we spend away from home. Either way, our work/life balance is not what we want. Balance implies a kind of symbiotic harmony between work and home. A perfect scenario would be to have a job that pays well, has reasonable working hours and plenty of vacation time and not too long of a commute, coupled with a lifestyle that allows for mundane household chores to be taken care of by others so that we can make the most of our leisure time. However, all too often the well paid jobs require much more time commitment than is comfortable and the need to be contactable 24/7 so that we can never really relax without the fear that we may have to attend to work related matters even when we are not in the office. If we choose to work part-time or in jobs that are less demanding in their scope we will probably be too poorly paid to afford household help and thus our “downtime” is for doing the chores necessary to maintain our household.

Historically, it was only the relatively well-to-do that could afford a balance in their lives. A middle class family might have what would be considered a good balance. However, as the standard of living of middle class families has been eroded in the last 30 years, it is more and more difficult for most people to achieve a good balance. More and more it is necessary to make compromises to achieve balance in our lives. We might have to take a lower paid job and give up some lifestyle luxuries, we might have to get up extra early every day to ensure our chores are done before the weekend. With careful planning it is still possible to carve out time to have a good work/life balance, but it takes much more effort these days even with modern, time-saving technology. We have to make careful choices about what is most important to us and prune our schedules accordingly.

Career counseling can help with work-life balance issues. By working with a career coach, or career consultant you can drill down to what is really most important to you and make plans accordingly. Your career encompasses your whole life, not just your “paying job”. For some of our clients, almost all of their life satisfaction comes from activities that happen outside their jobs. For others, work is really an important element in their overall happiness. We take a holistic view of a person’s career and look at every aspect of their lives in order to help them achieve balance and happiness – that, in our opinion, is true success.