As Father’s Day rolls around it is important to heed the old advice that the dying man on his deathbed never uttered the phrase “..if only I had worked another hour.” Instead, this mass commercial holiday is a good time to reflect on the importance of a work-life balance.
It was not too long ago that the concept “work-life balance” was reserved for working women. Men would only discuss such issues in hushed whispers around the water cooler or at the bar after working hours. Now, a national discussion on work-life balance is encouraged by many to attach real meaning to this concept.
What does work-life balance mean? The definitions are as vast and diverse as the subject itself. For me, it is rather simple. Work-life balance means finding the time to do the little things that matter to remind our family and friends that we care about them and that we enjoy spending time with them. This could be finding the time to catch a late afternoon soccer game at your daughter’s school, or an early evening playoff baseball game, or an early morning recital at school. Whatever it takes to be a part of your loved one’s life will qualify as work-life balance.
Yet, it can also mean a more permanent change in your life. Stay at home dads, once thought to be a fad, are becoming a sustaining and permanent part of our society. Whether it results from job loss, changing career dynamics, or better opportunity for a spouse, the stay at home dad is a phenomenon that is here to stay. As such, it needs to be recognized and not ridiculed.
Recently, it’s becoming more apparent that successful and productive work environments are spending the extra time to incorporate work-life balance strategies into their work cultures. These strategies are emphasizing the importance of getting work done and servicing client needs not necessarily during the traditional work hours, but using time and resources beyond the normal hours, so that you can include life experiences into your day.
The shorthand retort YOLO – you only live once – takes on real meaning in today’s work-life balance discussion where not losing sight of what is really important on this Father’s Day becomes the gift that keeps on giving.