Sunday, March 22, 2009

Work-Life Balance

There is this phrase that gets tossed around a great deal in the corporate atmosphere. "Work-Life balance". Makes you wonder if work is not part of life - do you consider work as close-to-death?

Of course, it means work-personal life balance.

The fact is, as far as I have seen and experienced, there is no such thing as work-life balance. There cannot be a balance between the two. Not in the kind of work I do. Maybe it exists elsewhere. But most definitely not in mine. You sacrifice one to attain the other. If you wish to improve your career graph and travel higher, say goodbye to your commitments at home. If you want more time at home for your family, relax your career responsibilities. Give up some to anyone around you and say I am done, this is all I can do.

I speak from experience. After years of wrestling with both and trying to convince myself that there is this perfect balance in my life and I am "managing" well, I have stopped deceiving myself and others, and admitted that the more I concentrate on my projects, the more I am losing on my home. I accepted defeat and decided to compromise on one.

It was not easy. When I was asked, "Are you ready to tear down all that you have built in the last nine or ten years and start afresh on something considered lower when your equals scale heights you can perhaps never dream of reaching now?", I almost faltered. But I did not lose my composure and said a firm "Yes".

Over time, it has become smoother. Yes, it still does evoke pangs of near-remorse at times but it does give a certain satisfaction to know that when I surrendered, I did gain something I consider very important. Or so it seems to me. Only time can tell if the decision taken at a deeply sensitive moment, though considered several times over weeks and months, had been a mistake. This is perhaps the closest to a sacrifice I have ever made in life.

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