There is a lot of talk about Work-Life Balance. Individuals and experts talk about ensuring that work does not consume one’s life and that we take extra effort to ensure that our personal life is given enough time and focus. But I have come to see that Work-Life Balance is a misconception.
Trying to balance our work lives and our home lives supposes that these lives are separate and mutually exclusive. Do we become someone different at work or do our preferences, beliefs, and desires exist at work as well as when we are sitting amongst friends and families at home? If we are out with friends, are we incapable of recognizing information which could be helpful on the job? We are one singular being at work and at home. We are the absolute same person in both situations. I think we should stop thinking of “balancing” these seeming dichotomies and instead look at “amalgamation.” To amalgamate is to combine into a unified or integrated whole. Work and life should not be balanced but united.
Being a life coach, I see so many individuals who are unhappy with their work. They feel trapped. They feel stuck. They feel that their job is sucking the life out of them. They put up with 40 to 60 hours of work hell for the few meager hours a week where they can live the life they love. I believe these feelings are due to a perception that they need to become something different at work. That they need to check their personalities, wants, and needs at the company door. And this is what many people do. They are one person at home and then when they enter the workplace they stuff that person into the bottom drawer of their cube with their lunch and their purse until the end of the day. The key to happiness is not ensuring that we have a few hours a week where we do the things we enjoy, but to begin claiming that same joy wherever we are.
What if instead of loving the few hours a day away from work when we can enjoy the things that give us pleasure, that we uncover how to have pleasure no matter the circumstance? What if we rediscovered that we are not imprisoned by our jobs, but that we always have a choice and in that choice there is the power to find joy? Stand up for yourself right now. Reclaim your individuality at work. Find ways to empower and release your true being in every situation. Stop believing that you need to unplug yourself when you take on the role of worker. You may be surprised. By freeing and satisfying your inner needs you will find that you are not just more happy at work but more productive as well. And you might just find that the people you thought would reject or attack you for being yourself may actually embrace the new you. Begin today to merge your life with your work. Find ways to live your passion on and off the job. Obtain not balance but the merger of your work and life.