“Work Life Balance” – I never liked this term. Balance implies that we equal out time and energy for both work and our so-called personal life outside of work. We first accept both as separate then focus on adding and subtracting to create a balance. Yea, good luck with that. The math never adds up.
The genie is out of the bottle and our relationship with our careers and work-life has evolved. Technology allows not just for more connection, but a constant connection to our work. Indeed “Balance” is not the right word or mindset.
A new term, BLEND, is making the rounds and takes us closer to understanding our new reality of how we connect our work lives and our not-work lives. Work / Life Blend focuses on one life, one container to hold our goals, ambitions, plans, anxieties, hopes, fears, and spirit.
The newest generation joining the workforce is already wired for this blending approach and mindset. They grew up with technology and constant access to information. Some of best learning in my new job is working with these so-called millennials. While I think I have much to teach them, they have much to teach me.
I work at a start-up company in a big warehouse in San Francisco. A company with a high concentration of millennials focused on building their careers and yea, changing the world of commerce. They teach me that this Work / Life Blend is the new normal and it works.
We work hard and flex to when the production is needed. Yet, there is balance here where people can pull together personal and business into the one container. Employees break off for mid-day workouts and basketball games on occasion. No need or expectation to squeeze the workout into what is left from a lunch hour. We do not have restrictions on access to Facebook or personal email and dogs visit the office on a regular basis. All of this was a no-no at my last organization built on an old-school mentality. Where in my past we used to spend hours discussing dress code and time off policies, I now work in an environment where we can wear jeans and funny tee-shirts on a Monday and take unlimited vacation time.
The contract is different. I enjoy the learning and growth afforded me as a leader. I also enjoy being me and write my blog while at work surrounded by such inspiration and energy.