As many of you know, I am currently working out-of-state and living at my mother-in-law’s house in the DFW metroplex. I woke up this morning and my generous house host engaged me in a spirited discussion about the idea of work-life balance. I am not a dummy, and I presume my mother-in-law is telling me that she doesn’t think I’ve struck the right balance. Of course, all of this got me thinking about the idea of work-life balance and the non-profit sector.
My mother-in-law’s point of view
Work-Life balance is about dividing your time between work and life. Work stays there and your life is over here. The idea of balance looks like the scales of justice, and the two sides (representing work and life) are in perfect balance.
Her thinking is that those individuals who work 60, 70 and 80 hours a week cannot achieve work-life balance. Furthermore, she thinks those people are selfish because if work is that important to someone then they are cheating their spouses, families, and pets.
After digesting my mother-in-laws strong point of view, I think this is a very popular position. I think lots of people view work-life balance through this lens.
My point of view
I used to look at work-life balance through the same lens as my mother-in-law, but a friend of mine helped me change the way I look at these competing things in my life.
I don’t believe in the scales of justice analogy anymore. I now believe that the scales can be imbalanced, and the question is all focused on whether or not you’re happy and feel fulfilled.
Selfish? Perhaps! But it is where I am at right now.
The non-profit sector
As I stewed about this morning’s conversation with my mother-in-law, I started thinking about all of my non-profit friends. I couldn’t think of anyone with perfectly balanced scales, but I could think of lots of non-profit friends who appear happy and fulfilled.
I also started thinking about the reality of non-profit work:
- Under-funded agencies
- Under-staffed workplaces
- Long hours
- Hard work
So, I decided to write this morning’s blog and seek your opinion about what work-life balance means to you AND how you achieve what you consider balance.
A few interesting articles
- Wikipedia: Work-life balance
- Common Good Careers: The Quest for Work-Life Balance in a Non-Profit Job
- The Bridgespan Group: Life as a Nonprofit CEO
So, what do you think? Please use the comment box below to weigh-in with your thoughts and experiences regarding work-life balance and the non-profit work experience.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC