In Pursuit of the Unicorn: Work-Life Balance

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“So find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time.”

Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo


Change is a double-edged sword for me. Even when it is good for me it causes me some degree of anxiety. The bigger the change, the more the anxiety. Over the years, I have learnt to deal with it in different ways. One of the most effective ways for me to deal with change is treading water and catching my breath or a silence of sorts while I focus my mind on learning the new ropes. During those times, I find I have very little in tank for much else and the writer in me goes entirely silent. She observes and waits.

This has been such a consistent feature of my life that I remember telling my maid of honour to please not plan anything for the last week before the wedding because I needed it to decompress. She was not impressed :D. Without that decompression though, I feel scattered, anxious and on edge throughout the period of change. After my decompression, my wedding day remains one of the best parties I have ever been to.

All this is to say that my recent silence here has been because I have had the good fortune of starting a new job… one might even say, a dream job. My dream has evolved a little since I first entered the job market over a decade ago. Consequently, even though I love my former employer and almost everyone there, we were simply no longer the right fit.

I needed a job that would not compromise my quality of life or better it, that would allow me to spend more quality time with my family, that had room for growth and would still allow me to do the joy of problem-solving and constantly sharpening my brain. I needed work-life balance with room for growth. I needed to be there for these defining years of my son and daughter’s lives without forfeiting my career growth. I wanted to sleep more than a couple of hours a day. Mostly, I wanted to feel less tired. I wanted to have something left in the personal tank for some self-care things. Let me tell you this: An opportunity that ticks all of these boxes is exceptionally hard to find.

So hard in fact that if I am entirely honest, just before the breakthrough, I considered just letting go of my career all together. Understanding that it would mean we would not be able to give our kids the life we wanted or some of the things they needed and that I would probably be unhappy because I truly love my work is what kept me going. The lives we lead these days sometimes feel like its provision versus presence and that is hard. Many women have written about it: Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, Heather Schuck … I could go on.

Now that I am settling in, I will be rearranging my posting schedule in the name of preserving that precarious balance. I will post at least once a day on Instagram. Most of my captions are what one might call microblogging and they cover the full range of throwingclay.org’s subject scope: business, babies and being.

Here on the Throwingclay.Org Blogazine, I will post every Monday evening guaranteed with a sprinkling of additional posts powered by inspiration in-between.

I am going to leave you with an extract from an article by Heike Young on work life balance to help you consider what daily responsibility management looks like for you (emphasis added)

“You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.”

Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab


“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.”

Heather Schuck, The Working Mom Manifesto


“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.” ―

Brian Dyson, former vice chairman and COO of Coca-Cola

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tumi says:

    I always marvel at how your posts are so in sync with what I’m going through at any point. It’s almost like you’re me in a parallel universe.

    Biggest challenge for me is letting go of the do called societal expectations. I’m so over being the over achiever. The super woman. I don’t want to sleep at 2am working. Don’t wanna dream about work. But I love what I do. Now finding a place that can accommodate what I want….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chio says:

    There is a special comfort in knowing that this life thing is a shared experience. May you find a place that is as perfect for your needs as you are for its needs…. very very soon.

    Like

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