This article relates to the Work/Life Balance competency, which investigates how your staff feels with regard to the balance between work and personal life. It explores issues such as priority of family and hours on the job, also covered in this competency. Organizations that enjoy a high satisfaction level in this area will normally exhibit a low rate of absenteeism and experience higher employee retention. Evaluating this competency is helpful in understanding issues relating to a workforce that is commonly tardy or absent from work.
This article, Finding the Perfect Balance, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales from the Corporate Frontlines. It illustrates how one employee's evolving life circumstances required him to make some career changes in order to achieve a healthy balance between the demands of work and personal or family life.
When I graduated from college and landed my first job within a month, I was understandably thrilled. This was my dream job, at a company I was familiar with that offered plenty of opportunity for growth and success for an ambitious sales associate.
I was more than ambitious. I worked 12 hour days routinely, hoarded my vacation time and sick days. I operated on a life philosophy that required plenty of hard work initially, with the assumption that when I was ready for marriage, family, home, etc. it would all come automatically. My nuclear family is small and distant, so I could pretty much devote my time to work without conflict.
Then I met a girl, became engaged. Suddenly I realized that my fiancé might not appreciate my twelve-hour days and absent weekends. She'd been accommodating so far, but how long would it last? She was a career person, but worked a strict 9 to 5 with very occasional overtime. One day, she asked if my hectic schedule would continue after we were married. I could tell from her tone of voice that it wouldn't.
The first to go was the weekend work. I lost a few accounts and the commissions attached. No problem. My new wife made a good salary so it didn't matter much. When I let go of 3 evenings per week, eyebrows around the office began to raise. My salary slipped from stellar to ordinary, and my boss was ready to transfer some of my best accounts to employees who were willing to work my former schedule.
My wife suggested I find a new company. I was reluctant at first, but we had the future - buying a home, paying for kids and college, preparing for retirement, to think of. So I searched. Within the year I found a new position with a more family oriented company. The commission structure requires only minimal overtime, and there are options like flex time, childcare savings accounts, retirement programs, and other benefits available. We are planning to start a family next year.
I discovered that the balance of career/personal life is important, and I need to work for the kind of company that supports my lifestyle so that I'm able to maintain that balance. The change was tough, but it was well worth the effort.-
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Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.
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