In today’s crazy world of constant contact, one is expected to literally (ok, not literally, but figuratively), be chained to their office. Our beloved smartphones are the biggest offenders of creating these binding work shackles because not only do they make it so we’re connected to everything at all times and act as our life savers, but they are also our life enders at the same time because we no longer have a life, we have work and a hint of what once was a life. Because of these devils in disguise, it is now next to impossible to find a work/life balance.
Before the introduction of smartphones, employees would stay late to ensure they could get as much done as possible. Once their day was complete, they’d go home and for the most part (unless something was so urgent, someone needed to call them at home) they were then able to shut off their ‘work’ brain and turn on their ‘life’ brain.
Now however, an employee is expected to stay late, and when they get home, they are expected to continue to work from their smartphones all through the night and when they first wake up in the morning. What’s that all about? Smartphones have also made it so that when we’re on vacation, we work then too. Ugh, our ‘work’ brains are never able to shut off. When will the madness stop!
Don’t get me wrong, I love being good at my job. I’m very competitive you see, so I like to be good at whatever I do. That said, as a society, we need to come up with a solution to this work/life imbalance so that our generation doesn’t all die of heart attacks and strokes by the time we’re 50.
What we need to do is find a solution that involves working flexibility, safe-times (ie, no one can contact you), and a general understanding that face-time isn’t always necessary – let the tired employee work from home in their PJ’s (or even naked) if they want. They are going to be answering your calls all weekend on their down time anyway!
With all this in mind, we need to remember that work is an important part of our lives. It helps define who we are, pays our bills, and offers outside satisfaction that friends and family can’t always provide. For example: I kicked ass in a presentation recently. It was the best one I ever gave in my life. And it felt good. In fact, it gave me a sense of accomplishment, pride, and ‘look what I can do all by myself’ feeling. Work helps give that needed sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Work however, needs to find an appropriate spot in the hierarchy of your individual priorities…which is so damn tough because of Steve Jobs’ wonderful iPhone.