Today, I wanted to write about a phrase I hear all too often. I still don’t entirely know what it means, to be honest.
As an incredibly smooth segue, here, behold my sad desk lunch!
When I left my last office job, the woman who conducted my exit interview cited my primary reason for leaving as “work-life balance.” What in the hell is that supposed to mean?! I felt a little bit affronted, but it was, in some ways an accurate description. I’ll confess that a more accurate assessment would have been that I felt my soul slowly being crushed working in a cubicle at 6am every morning and that my boss wouldn’t stop spitting his chewing tobacco in my trashcan. That would make anyone run screaming, to be quite honest.
I know that what I chose to do with my life is less than average. Some people think I’m quite nuts to place the large emphasis that I do on teaching ballet, and they’re very much entitled to their opinions. It certainly doesn’t change mine. Sure, I don’t have all of the career perks that most people do. There is no HR department for me to call, and I certainly don’t have someone handling all of my taxes, retirement, and insurance. It’s perhaps easier if you do, but I quickly found out that I could do all those things all by myself. Working independently doing something you love can give you so much more freedom, both literally and figuratively. What’s funny is when you can’t really discern between your “work life” and, well your “life-life.” What happens when what you used to do for fun suddenly becomes your job? Not only is it a shift in perspective, but how do you find a balance when you can’t seem to figure out when one ends and the other begins? People tell us that this is inherently unhealthy, that it is something that needs to be fixed, but could it also be a concept that we’re just hiding behind? As you climb the proverbial ladder of your chosen field, isn’t it natural that you take and more and more responsibilities? I look at so many of the women I know who’ve worked their way to the top, some of whom even own their own businesses. Their jobs are a huge part of their lives (not to say that they don’t have lives away from work), and I don’t see anyone throwing the “work/life balance” thing in their direction. Quite the opposite, it’s mostly praise. Is the seemingly unattainable work/life balance simply a polite way out of an unpleasant work situation, or is there more to it? Perhaps it only exists if you want it to- like some weird career Easter Bunny? I know I certainly don’t have the answers, but I think that everyone has experienced this, in one way or another.
Just like we’ve all been this gif, at one time or another. So, dear readers, what do you think?
Until next time.