How much of your life do you spend working? An average of 8-9 hours/day is my guess (Singapore as per ILO 2010 report – has people working the longest hours as compared to other countries in the same survey). Let’s face it – work is more a part of our lives than anything else, after all we don’t spend 8-9 hours/day with our family or even pursuing our hobbies. To top it up the phrase “work-life balance” could almost imply that “life” and “work” are two separate entities; the former is what we do when we are not working. Sounds strange to me considering most of our lives are spent working.
Rules that rule our lives should be the one’s that rule our work too. The two are not separate realms.
Ideally every moment of our working lives should be relished. Difficult as it may sound but “loving your work” or at least “liking your work” may not be a pipe dream if you keep these pointers in mind from my experience…
1. Please bring your own self to work not what you wish to show or expect to show to the world. When you bring a different personality to work you most definitely will become unhappy sooner or later. Choose a workplace that allows YOU to be YOU.
2. YOU are your most biggest and most important CLIENT. So learn to vocalize your achievements. “A peacock who sits on his feathers in nothing but a turkey”.
3. As life evolves expect your work to match up to your changing needs. Working mums will vouch for the fact how perspectives change after they have children. Work that looked awesome at one point in time, does not seem to cut the mustard any more. Don’t wait for the pressure to build up, expect something better to fill your needs and happily move on – if required.
4. Dont under-estimate the value of a mentor or a coach at workplace. Instead of waiting for someone to take you under her/his wings – find someone’s wing. You learnt the ropes from your parents about life, it helps to have someone play a similar role at work. You’ll see yourself achieving your milestones faster.
5. While growing up its ingrained into our psyche to be kind and generous and our work life does not have to be any different? Networking works on genuine attempts to help. Similarly there is nothing wrong in asking for help. Benjamin Franklin said ‘If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favour’. So make a lot of genuine friends at work.
6. As a supervisor, leader or just a colleague don’t fuss on areas of improvement of other people. Build on people’s strengths. That way you won’t attempt to waste time trying to chip them away. Please leave that to their volition.
7. Gunning for perfection is a recipe for disaster. Trying to be the best at work and best at home is a distant reality most of the time. Congratulate yourself when you manage to keep people at work and people at home not “unhappy” consistently.
8. When things don’t worked out as well as expected, move on proudly. The system that is not working for you, is not for you to fix cause it’s not your doing.
9. As you move remember that you don’t have to love every job that you do but need to learn from each.
10. Finally balancing of work life and personal life is a myth. If you love what you do, then you might not even be looking for such a balance.
Whether you have had fairly faithful career, or one where you have flitted from one workplace to another, look-out for these pointers. Do they resonate at any level with you?