I was once reading this interesting book authored by Nigel Marsh titled “Fat, Forty, and Fired” that talked much about himself on how he found life beginning at age forty. Three points he would like to share in his book are:
1. Ask ourselves why we are here, working…
It was a famous question from Saint Benedict to his followers in end of 8th century. “Let’s take a pause for a moment to justify our miserable existence, and try to deeply think about on why we are here in this world to work?” To have more money, to have a better living for the entire family, to be praised and recognized, to serve the society, or to make a difference to the world? Pick one answer or we may have our own already.
2. What are our priorities in life?
Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase CEO) have these priorities; “My first priority is my family, the second is my country, the list is so long, and somewhere in the middle is JP Morgan, or the company where I worked in general”. We have our own priorities, that we based our work-life balance upon. We may have our company as our first priority, that is totally up to us to decide.
3. Define our own work-life balance
We need to approach work-life balance in a balanced way that built from three foundations; physical, emotional, and spiritual balance. If we cannot fulfill one, some, or all those three, we are basically suffered. Some fall to a trap thinking that we are going to have life when we are retired, or by Nigel’s definition fat, forty, and fired. But the truth is our life starts now, and it is far closer than “when we retired”.
Work-life balance is somewhat not a very useful skill when we don’t have any work (that it be only life balance instead), especially when the money runs out. All the sudden, the idealism we set in the first place is no longer relevant, and we are back to square one of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
That is why we have to define our own balance. We need to face the truth that no government nor any institution will solve the problem for us, no matter how hard our company try to balance our work and life equilibrium, we are the individual that is solely responsible for the type of life that we want to live in. If we don’t design our life, then someone else will define it for us, and we may not going to like their idea of balance.