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07-09-2018

If your sector does not have a great work-life balance, what else can you do?

Balance may well be an impossible pursuit in some industries; but finding a job that allows you to have a life in that industry is not.


Work and life should not be mutually exclusive pursuits, but such is the uneasy relationship with business and family life that there used to be a time when "leaving to spend more time with my family" was taken as shorthand for "fired". Yet in an era where leaders are extolling the virtues of bringing your "whole self" to work the conversation surrounding work-life balance has become more nuanced.


Yet in some industries, it is very difficult to achieve a work-life balance. There are therefore three options.


1) Find something else to do
2) Accept it
3) Reclaim a work life balance around



Find something else to do


Indeed, pursuing a better work-life balance is no longer something people are encouraged to hide and therefore people who leave an industry to achieve this are no longer seen as “damaged goods” or flaky. And it may be that moving on to a new sector is the right thing to do. In fact one MD in the advertising industry put out a note saying "I’m leaving to pursue exciting opportunities beyond agency life that will enable me to achieve true work-life balance and pursue my life-long learning ambitions."



Accept it


This only really works if you are either prepared to forgo certain things or you have a strong support network in place. If you have someone to do the school run, look after the children etc then accepting there is limited work-life balance will allow you to continue in your industry.



Reclaim a work life balance around


The gig economy and the rise in freelancing sees vast swathes of talent now viewing this as plan A, not a plan B. Thus, helping them to engineer and embrace flexible working and ensuring a healthy, inclusive working culture as a business priority. Similarly, technology affords us a previously inconceivable level of flexibility; the challenge is to use it not to add to the relentlessness of the "always on" working day but to free us from its arbitrary constraints. Therefore, it is less about a work-life balance, but more about a work-life harmony. Making your life and work fit together as best you can.


It’s also important that you do validate your thought that the industry cannot accept work-life balance. There is often a misconception that this is not possible, yet it is actually the company you are working for that is not offering this opportunity as opposed to the industry.


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