I am sitting on the back deck, enjoying some nice weather in Chicago (finally!), with my youngest son bouncing on the trampoline and realizing that I have a pretty great life. I am also remembering a time when I would be holed up in an editing studio making just one more tweak to make a video perfect and missing out on a beautiful night with my family. While I love creating the perfect video, I have to say, I love this version of my life far better.
As detail-oriented people, most tech people I know have a difficult time letting go and heading home. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the things we love to do, that we forget that we desperately need to have a life outside of our jobs. It is also easy to forget about the families we leave at home during all those long hours.
In his book “Winning”, Jack Welch talks about the work-life balance and how important it is for each of us to know what that looks like. In my younger days, I wanted my boss to tell me when to go home or when something was good enough. I also wanted to blame my workaholic tendencies on someone else. My first boss and Jack Welch agree: be an adult and figure it out for yourself.
Chances are your boss has no idea what needs to get done in your world and no idea what is required of you at home. It is important for each of us to figure out what it means to give all that is truly being asked of us at work and, what our families need from us.
For as long as I can remember, my wife has been joking with me to “Come home early”. I usually give a nervous laugh anytime she says it because the reality is pretty unrealistic. Even my kids say it now! However, this little joke has helped me think about whether I need to stay an extra hour or if I can actually come home at a reasonable time. How to come home early is always on my mind, whether it is possible or not, which helps my family know that they are important to me.
Having a life outside of work makes me a complete person. Giving my entire self to my place of work with nothing left over is not being a good steward of the life I have been entrusted with.
Have you taken responsibility for your work/life balance? Does your family feel as important as your work? When was the last time you “came home early”?