Managing Career and Personal Life

Managing one’s career along with personal life is a challenging task. Maintaining an appropriate balance between the two requires a lot of efforts and compels one to properly manage your time so that none of the two is neglected. It is easier for most people to focus on their work and give less time to the other aspects of life. Managing Career and Personal Life
It is becoming a universal phenomenon that in order to survive and thrive in this highly competitive era, we are becoming more attentive towards our career objectives. It may vary from person to person as some people still strive to maintain stability between the two facets of life.
On one hand, we desire to blossom professionally and on the other hand, we all wish to spend quality time with our family and friends. Time to time review is necessary to set a plan that can ensure our career development and success, as well as satisfying one’s personal life.
Kindly share your views on how one can attain the right balance between career development and personal life. Furthermore, how can a company’s HR policies facilitate a balance between an employee’s personal and professional life/aspirations?



15 Comments

  • The Balance comes with managing time, the more time you spend with family and friends, the more you prove to them that you care and willing to be with them, one must create a schedule for work and family, where for example weekends are a scared think and should only be dedicated for family. of course you also need to communicate more with the people around you and let them understand where you stand.
    How HR can help, this comes within a package of activates and policies they can create, for example:
    – Monthly activities for employees where they can invite their family to
    – Increase the flexibility of taking vacations so they can spend it more with family
    – Create a community that follow up on family related issues between employees and try to get involved in it (sending flowers or financial support if needed)

  • The number 1 key is compartmentalization. When we work we work. When we spend time with kids they get our attention. When we are with a romantic partner we give them attention. This requires planning ahead, otherwise life just HAPPENS. Also, we will always not be doing A when we are doing B…that is just life.
    I recommend the Total Control Moment. In that you take a look at the big-picture of life challenges and briefly decide and schedule to deal with each.
    Also, if we don’t really want something, get rid of it. An unfulfilling club or group. Extra duties. Working overtime. A jetski someone maintains more than uses. Computer time-stealers. Answering LI questions till 12:46 am…damn…
    Hire help. If you are in the upper-income brackets free yourself up.
    Societally we need to realize something: WE HAVE ARRIVED. It is time to not have to work so hard.
    In 1970 one parent worked 2000 hours a year and one raised the kids. Now both spouses work about 4500 and Grand Theft Auto and WWE raises the kids. You know what we get for that doubletime? The same basic lifestyle, but with internet, more safety features which is good, and bigger TVs. But after 40 years, haven’t we earned that? No, all the profits go to corporations which they invest OVERSEAS where they still pay the labor cheap. In other words, the working people are not reaping the rewards due from putting both spouses in the workforce— the corporations are and they reinvest profits in cheaper labor markets. First to Japan, then to Korea, then to India, then to China, then to Central America. That is great in a sense, as all our lives ARE better….but we are still paying for a living with two wage-earners working half their lives and ignoring many of their needs and their family.
    It is time for 32 hour workweeks. That total of 64 hours still exceeds the 40 of 1970. Then people can put in overtime to 40 or start a job on the side or volunteer or play with their kids or take them to soccer.
    Personally: Compartmentalize and plan ahead for work, family, and fun.
    Societally: Go to 32 hour workweeks and extended vacation time. It is time to reap the promise of technology. In answer to your HR question, they should allow 32 hours of flextime during the day or a similar solution that fits the employers needs as well.
    We were promised technology would free us. It is time to reap our share of the rewards and no longer be slaves to our computers and employers.
    Our economy, even according to wealth advisors such as Kiyosaki and Trump, is set up to make bankers and multi-generational aristocracies richer at our risk. We are buying into that hook line and sinker. If productivity doubled would we be through with our “highly competitive” era? It did, and the banks and financiers merely loved the free labor. This is not just me saying this, but many of the richest people out there.
    Basically the world population needs to simply take our economy back from the rich bankers and ancient dynasties by ridding ourselves of debt, owning our companies, forming credit unions instead of banks, not having trickle down economic policies that trickle overseas and into the pocketbooks of those getting government privilege, and refusing to be the servants of those who assume we should be.
    So, I think I gave TMI, but there are major changes we should make at the personal level first, then the corporate and governmental levels. We deserve our lives back.
    In the meantime, compartmentalize and plan and enjoy life. Despite the fact our lives are unduly controlled by multi-generational aristocrats, it is much better than dodging saber-toothed tigers.
    But the big myth is the wealthy created this wonderful modern world. No. We all did, they simply had the agreed upon fiction of money to invest. It is time to reap the rewards at all levels of the economic scale and not have to work 4500 hours for what once cost us 2000.

  • Dear Nasir,
    The key is in how to keep up the social status.
    Marriage with equal status family is very important factor for happy marriage life. Keeping the social status is the main problem in almost all cases of faliled life. Not only it would create trouble with the link of upper class than us but also would have to meet the same trouble with lower class.
    I mean the upper or lower class is about finance not other things.
    Choosing the partner should not be on the basis of present condition, but the life long.
    Best regards.

  • Salima, Every person has to find his own balance when it comes to managing his career and personal life. Companies can roll out policies for work life balance but if the employee is workaholic and not organised in his style of work, its will be a wasteful excercise. That doesnt mean that we dont roll out policies as HR. But eventually, its each individual responsibility to strike a fine balance between both these aspects of life. Time management, yoga, meditation, telecommuting, taking frequent breaks to spend time with family are some of the ways in which you can strike a balance, There are some people who ensure that they dont sit on their laptops once they are home, no matter how much work they have. Work that 8 – 10 hrs properly and ensure the balance at home.

  • Salima, thanks for posting this question. When we spot that we have to find a balance between career and personal life, it’s often an indication that our career needs and our personal needs are at opposite ends of a long see-saw. As our career focus goes up, our quality of life goes down and vice versa.
    As a coach I have found that as my clients learn to bring their career objectives and personal lives closer to their core values (visualise the two ends of the see-saw coming closer to the middle) it becomes easier for them to find a balance. If they then feel the need to emphasise their career, it doesn’t have such a detrimental effect on their personal life because they no longer experience such a departure from their personal needs.
    With this in mind, a great goal for any organisation is to provide support for its employees to find the role that most suits and meets his or her core values. This is hugely important during the recruitment phase, where it can serve two purposes:
    – Aligning corporate and individual values, e.g. an individual’s need to be creative would match (and potentially be fulfilled by) Dyson’s corporate identify)
    – Establishing the early personal/career values match can reduce the potential for work-life balance clashes later
    I can add that I believe it’s never too late to bring career and personal values closer together. The cost of not doing so is the commonly experience that we shift our attention between the two without ever really doing justice to either.
    Best wishes,
    Kevin.

  • Salima:
    It all comes down to finding Balance in our livesm balance between work and home, family and colleagues, LI or watching TV with spouse
    I cannot stress enough on how important Balance in life is. Balance creates Harmony, and Harmony leads the path to happiness.
    Balance plays a key factor in order to achieve the ultimate goal of success in everything we wish to accomplish in life. It is amazingly important and at the same really scary that in our modern society that meaning has been lost.
    All these diseases that are on the rise like cancers, high blood pressure, heart attacks and so on are related to the lack of Life Balance and Harmony in our overall life.
    We are always exterme in aproaching any side of our life, we work too much, or we eat too much, or we love too much etc. We either love or hate, we either exercise everyday of not at all, all this create a negative inner balance that manifests itself in our daily life. So if we want to achieve any goals or success we need to reach that balance.
    No surprise that few Corporations are including Gyms at premises as well as day care centers to try to phantom the creation of balance for their employees
    Balance is the exact point in which nothing happens, it is the meeting point where 2 opposing things cancel each other achieving equilibrium.
    Cheers,
    Sahar Andrade

  • A well balanced person needs to be successful at home, in their personal as well as at work in their professional endeavors. I think we all know people who did well at one place but not so well at another. HR policies should discourage over-work among other things. Sometimes due to a deadline or other issue, overtime might be necessary. Certain people tend to work a lot more than 40 hours on a regular basis. Those circumstances should be investigated. Are they doing more than one job? Why? Fix it.

  • Salima:
    You’ve gotten a lot of good answers to the first part of your question. I’ll take a shot at the second part: “How can a company’s HR policies facilitate a balance between an employee’s personal and professional life/aspirations?”
    The number #1 rule (and I am speaking from 30+ years in management in three industries) HR must consult and synchronize with Operations before taking any action in this area.
    Here’s the scenario: HR delivers a seminar on life/work balance, sending the message that the company is concerned about the number of hours that employees are putting in at work versus those spent with family. The employees feel good about this but then: wham! it’s crunch time! Operations must double throughput over the next two months in order to meet a delivery date or a NBD target.
    This breeds cynicism; the employees are thinking that the company actually DOESN’T care about life/work balance but is trying to trick everyone into thinking they do..
    When their employers take an action that is perceived as harmful to them, remember that employees do NOT think in terms of simple mis-communications, unexpected opportunities that have arisen, or honest mistakes. They perceive the action as arising from incompetance and/or greed.
    (When somone slams into the back of your car, you don’t think, “Maybe the poor guy just came off an 18 hour shift and got distracted for a second.” You think, “Some freaking, brainless moron just hit me! Probably doesn’t even have insurance, the idiot!” But if YOU are the one who slams into the back of someone else’s car after an 18 hour shift and had got distracted for just a second, YOU don’t understand why the fellow is calling you an idiot and a moron. It was just an accident, after all!)
    It’s really Operations that drives the employees’ perceptions of how much the company cares about life/work balance, because Operations allocates the work.
    If HR is to be effective in creating a good life/work balance, it needs to focus its efforts on executive and middle management. Talking to line employees or junior management will do little good because they are not in control of their schedules or the number of hours they are expected to deliver.
    Herb

  • Our big problem is we think we can have it all (all meaning a good home life and a fulfilling career) merely through hard work and proper time management; this is a silly assumption. The only way, in my opinion, to have it all is to align your whole life with a good set of values and live accordingly. These values shouldn’t just be how you want to live, but what you want to convey to those around you, especially your kids.
    If your family shares your values, and those you work with do to, then there should be no problem accomplishing goals both professionally and personally.
    HR needs to clearly define corporate values and align compensation with these values. Far too often I see this confused. Personally, I don’t think it’s entirely HR’s problem. Management actions and promotion selections send clear messages to employees and coworkers what type of behavior is rewarded. So, it becomes the values of departmental managers that get imposed on the workplace and not necessarily the values of the company, despite all best efforts.
    How to fix this? How to make sure that corporate values are guiding decision making at the managerial level and not personal values and emotions? That’s a tough one.
    I would begin by having clearly defined, communicated, and measurable values that dictate compensation. Having values like passion or vision are great, but can you measure that? Can it be communicated as to what is meant by passion and how it will be recognized?
    I would then have clearly defined and communicated job functions and roles as well as measurable prerequisites for promotions and compensation increases. I also wouldn’t tie promotions with compensation increases (I would have banding though) and I wouldn’t encourage an up and out culture.
    Other than that…? Well, that’s my 2 cents.

  • I think that the balance is a thing that shifts. There are times when work absolutely takes over. There are times when work subsides a bit, and you can focus much more on personal life. I see it as a continuum.
    What I don’t see as valuable — and this may be a straw man — is “I have a LIFE” as a status symbol. It isn’t an either/or or a contest. No one’s going to do this to anyone else’s satisfaction: what’s important is that each person tries his or her best to achieve individual (and familial) balance without shoving things off onto other people in an organization or a family group.

  • That’s easy. Take weekends off and spend time with your family. This summer, why not go camping? You’ll be way more productive during the work week.
    Links:
    * http://illusiodesign.com

  • I’m no less a husband and father at the office than I am a productive worker at home. I, fortunately, work for a great company that is understanding of family and home issues AND have a family that is supportive of my career. Having this support greatly enables me to satisfy both to the best of my ability — I find that when I’m ‘out of balance’ it’s because I am self-serving to a greater degree than I should be. I have found that if I place others before myself and serve them – what I want usually gets accomplished in and through serving them.

  • Things are moving fast in our environment, and jobs are more unsecured than before. Therefore, we are spending more time in order to ensure our “employability”, trying to increase our knowledge and experiences, which represents an asset in order to maximize your chances to get new opportunities, to face new challenges. In this way, we are spending maybe less time with our families and friends, but we have to be aware that our professional live influences our personal live, as our personal live influences our professional live. If you are facing professional problems, it could impact negatively your personal live, you spread bad mood in your family environment. We could think that your well-being in your professional live could compensate the lack of time you spend with your family. Now, you can spend less time to work by increasing your efficiency which is possible when you are motivated.
    Yes,…It’s a question of balance.
    Best regards,
    Eric

  • Hi Salima,
    Each one of us feel genuine enjoyment and pleasure when share quality time with friends and family; we are emotional people with hobbies and recreational activities that we enjoy after hours; we can feel reenergized when are dedicating to sports, self-reflective activities and get pleasure from nature life. Hardly, you can enjoy healthy of these pleasant activities when you are obsessive about your job, and you are pushing the envelope to be a successful professional or entrepreneur by dedicating your best effort and being passionate about the hard job that you should do to get satisfied with your own achievements and successes
    When these mental blocks appear consistently, any affected professional could has a serious lack of balance between personal life and job; he/she could feel depressed, anxious and distracted to get focus in his/her job; or he/she could face the risk of experimenting a professional burnout.
    An organisation can be loved by their employees when this organisation excels in developing Employer Brand Management practices to generate workplaces where an employee can feel pride and satisfaction for belonging to an organisation where he/she is considered, respected and recognized.
    A key factor that a busy professional should take in consideration is combining time management tactics to achieve maximum productivity in his/her working hours, with a healthy work-life balance by developing pleasant activities that you enjoy in your spare time. About time management practices, these are the guidelines, I follow consistently:
    – Assigning priorities to the different projects that I have to manage, discarding pragmatically to all those projects that don’t add me value both as professional and for my own life has been an effective tactic in mitigating the stress around my over- demanding professional agenda.
    – The are of being successful making different things simultaneously may be achieved by delegating sistematically all those tasks that may be better developed by other professionals, when I have empowered them in being self-sufficient, proactive and with high degree of autonomy.
    – I don’t forget what the strategic alignment of the different projects under my responsibility is, and how well these projects could fit in my big scheme of things. When this alignment is clear and I know how well each one of your projects fit in my big scheme of things then I will have the empowerment, motivation and energy in managing all my projects both as professional and in my personal life being thereby a true overachiever.
    – Avoid distractions in my life that may be detrimental in achieving my goal of being focused and motivated to develop my full professional potential when I are managing and developing my own project’s portfolio.
    – Being proficient in using different technologies and applications, I have acquired an outstanding capacity of being competitive in a busy business framework, where is imperative mastering the ability of managing different projects concurrently with minimum effort.
    – And the most important issue is my willingness of preserving my valuable balance between my life and my professional initiatives by dedicating quality time to my lovable family, estimable friends, and valuable hobbies.
    Some companies have implemented with resounding success, recreational activities like yoga, Tai-chi and meditation as cost-effective approaches in providing to the employees the relaxing activities that they require to release stress, pressure and anxiety and by this way minimizing the risk of suffering burnout. When this balance is carefully designed and is incorporated to the organizational culture is easy to improve the sense of belonging of an employee toward a company that is supportive about the best use of his/her spare time.
    I hope that helps you.
    Octavio
    Links:
    * http://www.linkedin.com/answers/management/organizational-development/MGM_O
    * http://www.linkedin.com/answers/management/organizational-development/MGM_O
    * http://www.linkedin.com/answers/management/organizational-development/MGM_O
    To encompass an organizational perspective, I am including links to 3 questions, I posted time ago in Linkedin Answers:
    1. In what terms initiatives of Employee Engagement can make a difference in times of economic recession?
    2. How have you applied the theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in your Talent Management practices?
    3. How important is having a powerful Mission and a inspiring Vision as essential elements of an employer branding strategy?

  • Eugene Czuchnicki

    Let me offer a different perspective on the work-life balance from Jack Welch – former CEO of General Electric – from his book Winning copyright 2005.
    “For instance, my kids were raised, largely alone, by their mother, Carolyn.”
    “The idea just didn’t dawn on me that anyone would want to be anywhere but at work.”
    “…your boss’s top priority is competitiveness…he wants you to be happy, but only as it helps the company win…if he is doing his job right, he is making your job so exciting that your personal life becomes a less compelling draw.”
    “Bosses know that the work-life policies in the company brochure are mainly for recruiting purposes.”
    “…work-life balance is your problem to solve…”
    Based on company growth over the long term Welch is seen as one of the most successful CEOs that has ever run an organization.
    He called it – the problem is yours to solve. What do you value/want?

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