by Stacey Carroll, Contributing Writer
Work/Life Balance is not as cut as dry as one would think. Our gut instincts tell us that it should be an even mix between working and living. We should have enough time to go to work, come home, spend time with our families, go on vacation, pay bills, and relax.
Anyone who’s ever had a job knows that this is not always the case. Most times we’re scrambling between household duties, work and bills. There just never seems to be enough time.
Who’s responsible for Work/Life Balance? Most publications state that it is the individual’s responsibility to achieve a balance. Yet, we look to our workplaces to help us with that goal; flex-time, personal time, vacation and holiday pay. These are simply tools for us to use in order to achieve our work/life balance.
ASTD Press has a pamphlet entitled “Fundamentals of Work Life Balance” by Erica D. Chuck. On the first page she states how “recent decades have seen an increase dual income households.” This means that more of us are working, leaving us with less time for a home-life.
How do we achieve the balance? We should all start with a few basic questions before we ever apply for a job let alone walk into the interview.
How much money do I need to make?
This is by far the most important question. We need enough money to pay our bills and save a little bit for emergencies and retirement. For me, that’s between $15.00 and $16.00 an hour. I can live comfortably off that working fulltime. If I wanted to work part-time, it’d need to be more like $20.00 to $23.00 an hour. The latter probably isn’t feasible. So, remember, the hourly goal also has to be realistic.
Once that question is answered, we have an hourly wage objective and can pursue jobs in that wage range.
What do I want out of my career?
This question is also important. If you want to advance and achieve promotions, using a lot of flextime and work/life balancing options may not be a good idea. There can be a stigma to using such balancing options. If all of your coworkers work 40+ hours a week, and you work 35, there may be some resentment.
It’s always best to talk to your supervisor about options and a plan for your career. Learn directly what the impact will be if you use a lot of flex-time, opt to work at home, or take a lot of personal days. It may affect your advancement. Know what the consequences are beforehand.
What do I want out of the Company I work for?
Do you want a fun, friendly atmosphere? Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to feel useful and productive. Examine yourself before applying for that next job. Know exactly what you want out of the company before you even apply and especially before you walk into the interview.
What are my long term goals both personal and professional?
Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? Write it all down for both your personal and professional lives. Then, make a plan on how you want to achieve those goals.
What are my personal and professional short term goals?
Where do you want to be both professionally and personally in three months? Six months? 12 months? Write them all down as you did for your long term goals.
Do these personal and professional goals mesh?
For the professional goals, it would be wise to talk to your supervisor and get a plan and agenda from them. If your job is notorious for long hours, and you want to be at the gym every night at 6pm or your child has numerous extracurricular activities after school, find out if you can leave work early without dire consequences.
Then, take those professional suggestions and agendas and pit them against your personal goals. Figure out if they mesh or if they are in direct conflict with what you really want to do.
By answering these questions, and examining both your personal and professional lives, you will be well on your way to helping yourself create an acceptable work/life balance.
Stacey Carroll is the author of the thriller series - Avia. She also authors the paranormal erotica series - The Blooddoll Factory. Stacey grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. she went to college at Indiana State University (ISU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in aerospace in the professional pilot program. She has flown Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, the Pipe Seneca and the King Air. She also graduated with a minor in computer science that specialized in web design.
She has always been interested in reading and writing, and the first book she was ever read was the Grimms Brother's Fairy tales. From the ages of 6 to 11, she read the Nancy Drew series. By the age of 11, she had graduated to Stephen King novels. A few of her favorites include Carrie, Tommyknockers, The Dark Tower Series up to book 3 (That's where it stopped in the late 80s/ early 90s), Pet Semetary, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, It, Cujo, Christine, The Eyes of the Dragon and Thinner (Richard Bachman). In her teen years, she moved on to Anne Rice and got through about four of those books before they degraded. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know book 5 isn't readable. Stacey has read a couple Harry Potter books as she was introduced to them in the early 2000s, and she's never read or watched anything Twilight or 50 Shades. Sorry. I'm a vampire purist, and nothing needs to be said about the latter. You already know.
She is currently an author and freelance writer. She received an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2008 for a short story entitled The Field. In 2014, she was published in 13 Stories by Us by MacKenzie Publishing.
Other books by Stacey
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