Work-Life Balance For The Technology Professional
This ended up as a response to Brad McGehee’s (blog | Twitter) Editorial post on SQLServerCentral.com about DBA and the Career-Life Balance. It turned out to be a long response so I’ve decided to make it a blog post.
It all boils down to priorities and developing your daily disciplines. I blogged about investing in your personal growth and how it comes at a price. In organizations where you are expected to work on company time and learn on your own time, this is really a challenge (I am not in favor of such practices but you have to live with it). But this is the cost of growth. The question is not whether or not we want to grow but whether or not we are willing to pay the price.
Work-Life balance is a concept that the 20th century work environment has developed to create a separation between work and play. The reason why it is advocated by many is because they are stuck in a work environment – or even in a job – where they’d rather be someplace else. If we look at history, technology is “partly” to blame for this phenomenon. And, then, there’s the 8-hour work day and the 40-hour work week. In effect, there really is no such thing as balance since we spend most of our time at work. So, how do we deal with it? Try P.D.A.
- Prioritize. List down the top 5 items that mean a lot to you. If you spend more than enough time at work than with your family, it simply means it is higher up your priority list.
- Discipline. Once we’ve defined our priorities, we need to develop our daily disciplines to support our priorities. One example, in my case, is making sure that I walk my kids to the school bus stop every morning no matter what. It also means having lunch date with my wife every Friday. Because they are on my priority list. I also account for the time I spend meditating and praying in the morning, reading before going to bed and taking walks when the weather permits.
- Accept. We need to learn more about ourselves – our strengths and weaknesses – and accept the facts. We need to accept the fact that we cannot do everything. This means being secured in who we are. It gives us the courage to say no to our boss when we know our priorities and daily disciplines will be affected. I’ve accepted the fact that I know nothing about BizTalk nor don’t have any clue at all what the Mercator’s map is all about. I can’t even read my own handwriting sometimes and will probably not be playwright ever. But I’m fine with that.
As technology professionals, we have succumbed to the pressure of what the industry requires of us that we let it define who we are. We need to take a step back, take charge and be different. Then, we can begin to really see what work-life balance truly means.
What about you, how do you define work-life balance? You can post your comments here.