Many offices and corporations are offering several things in order to “make things easier for the employee.” In the article “Keeping Work and Life In Balance” at examiner.com, they list several things that are being offered: casual Fridays, laundry facilities, bringing your dog to work, take out reimbursement, flexible hours, loans for purchasing a hybrid vehicle and sabbaticals. Make sure that you realize that you are in charge of your career and the work-life balance discussion.
As I read the article Keeping Work and Life in Balance in the examiner.com, I felt a queasy feeling in my gut.
The commentary talks about how mainstream the work-life discussion has become, and how much strength and support the “movement” has at all levels of the corporate hierarchy.
Using flowing terms like “the privileges of yesteryear” to describe how these companies are changing the lives of their employees, the piece details several perks that companies offer “to make life easier for employees”, such as:
- Casual Fridays
- Laundry Facilities
- Bringing your dog to work
- Take-out food reimbursements for those on maternity and paternity leave
- Forgivable loans for purchasing hybrid vehicles
- Flexible hours, and
It didn’t take long for me to think: This is bad …Really bad. It’s official. Corporations are winning the work-life balance “battle”.
It isn’t that these fringe benefits (an old-school term) aren’t wonderful. They do provide value to employees, no doubt.
The fact is that some corporations have now unmistakably turned the discussion – the Work-Life debate, if you will – into a Human Resources issue, and the media has become an unwitting accomplice.
You’re still expected to put work first in the Work-Life equation. Now, your employer has taken full responsibility for the outcome of that formula.
Despite the efforts and successes of Gen Xers and Yers to achieve the New American Dream, and many of us Boomers (or Gen Jonsers, Sandwich Generation, or whatever label others have lumped upon us), including the attitude and paradigm shifts that are occurring in many corporate cultures, it’s become very clear that these corporations are telling us that Work-Life and Work-Family Balance is simply no more than them making work a little more bearable for us.
Here’s the real truth: You own the Work-Life Balance discussion. Only you know what’s best for you. Only you can make decisions and trade-offs.
Don’t ever let someone else tell you what’s best for you.
Define your values, set boundaries, and live your life.
Maybe I shouldn’t fret too much. The concluding paragraph in the
article beings: “The very concept of Work-Life Balance is a new one.”
It isn’t a new one to me, nor to many people who have been struggling
with this issue for countless years. Furthermore, I believe that it
will continue to be one of the most important issues of our time.
Thanks to Steven Fisher at Startup Spark for including this post in his Carnival of Entrepreneurs.