Now that I am not actively working for any corporate, I believe I am more qualified to talk about achieving work-life balance in the profession. Of course, without goes saying that I would be doing so hoping not to offend any of my past employers.
Its only been little over a week since I left my job and trying to find my feet independently, but this period has enabled me to retrospect and find out how my journey in the corporate world had been for past over a decade of years. Few thoughts that came to my mind with regards to balancing the work-life in professional world, I am attempting to put here.
Are you aware of your priorities?
Most of us are driven by tasks and work priorities. We always feel and give priority to what is being told to us by our boss, what the project demands from us and what the team members are expecting from us. I have often seen that people struggle to cope up with the work demands and either stretch to finish the job, struggle to complete and leave it half complete. May be most of the times all we end up is a day that somehow has finished but, without giving us a bit of satisfaction that we achieved what we set out to achieve.
Stunningly, when I spoke with quite a few people and found what makes them struggle, I found a simple lack of understanding of Urgent vs. Important prioritization and acknowledging them back to the source. Often this leads to confusion and frustration in situations where the project demands you to pay attention to a critical problem and your boss (or super boss) expects you to complete a task urgently. Its important that we understand the priorities the role demands from us and act accordingly.
The understanding and acknowledgement of priorities should not only be limited to workplace tasks. It needs to come out of your overall life and what you have set out to work for. If your family is your priority, make an attempt and an effort to make them most important in your life so that you can plan your work accordingly.
Acknowledge the choices, make them or someone else will make it for you
Every situation, however difficult comes with multiple solution and choices that sometimes we lack to see. Often the choices are easy (possibly leading to more issues) and difficult (better in long term) and the history of choices you have made defines your personality. The choices you have made creates an expectation baseline for you and the perception then becomes difficult to break.
Typical example is onshore and offshore communication and task allocation where its easy (and sometimes encouraged) by offshore management to simply follow and not argue onshore for aspects that are incorrect. It then becomes a practice, expectation and baseline that is difficult to break.
Unless YOU choose to be on the right side of choices (and its often difficult), things can not change and you often ending up suffering either by being pushed to corner for your work, experiencing forced decisions and sometimes frustrations.
Corporates are built by nature to squeeze the most out of you
Believe it or not, all the corporates by nature are built to squeeze most out of you.
All the so called people oriented policies are supposed to support you work more in office. Overtime, compensatory off, paid leaves, crèche-at-work are all the facilities to ensure that you spend more and more time in office and give your life for it.
Very few corporates have rules that prevent you from turning up to office or thinking about work post your work hours. In fact, most of them reward you for working extra (so called hard work) by promising to pay more, give incentives etc. Few interesting words that we feel are important and on which our appraisals have been based are, ‘initiatives’, ‘innovative ideas’, ‘going out of way to support’ inherently means that you are expected to work more to comply the ‘standard’ in your office.
Be aware of the trap, understand the priorities, acknowledge and make the choices and you can save yourselves from burning out of work. Its easy to get caught in the habit of ‘I know it, let me do myself’. Remember, if you do it, you are taking away the right of someone else’s learning it today and in process making it difficult to get rid of it next time it comes.
Be smart, balance life and work.
Believe me, I know now, its important!