Massey University CareerplaNZ

Career and student learning issues brought to you by Massey University’s Careers Service – New Zealand


Posted by John Ross on February 1, 2009

Much has been written, of late, regarding the importance of work-life balance.  What does the term really mean though?  Well, the short answer is different things to different people.  Chances are we all know people who strive to cut back their workload or to take ‘time out’.  Equally though, we are likely to know people who seem to thrive on being busy.


Whatever definition you can relate to, if work-life balance is what you seek the first step in the process (and yes, it is a process) is self-awareness.  That is, knowing who you are and being keenly aware of the effect of choices you make.  Furthermore, self-awareness encompasses the extent to which you are able, and willing, to adapt; change and develop. 


In an earlier blog, we looked at the elements of ‘successful’ career choice.  Surprise, surprise one of these was self-awareness.  Within this, in turn, was the need to consider our values.  If you’d like to look at what your values might be, these resources could help.  It can be argued that balance comes to a person when she or he lives out their values in all facets of their life.  However, there are many and varied factors that can affect one’s ability (or willingness) to work on areas of imbalance in their life.  What might some of yours be?  Would they include caring responsibilities; study commitments; your current workload; your location or the nature of any work that you do?


The increased emphasis, of late, on work – life balance issues is a reflection of the globally-competitive labour market.   It’s true that the current recession may restrict an employee or job-seekers ability to negotiate flexibility in a role.  However, in at least the medium to long-term we are likely to see a continuation of the trend towards employers crafting work conditions that are attractive to prospective employees.  Playing its part in this too, is the rate at which women and older workers are playing an increasingly active role in the workforce.  Flexibility in workplace terms and conditions carries many potential benefits for employers – for example, greater staff motivation and health (physical and mental); retention and a boost to productivity and to recognition as an ‘employer of choice’.  

For more information on work-life balance, and to try out the useful ‘Wheel of Life’ exercise and ‘Work Life Balance Quiz’ take a look at these pages on the web site of Career Services Rapuara.  Also useful could be the Massey Counselling Service publication ‘Balancing for Life’.  


One Response to “Balancing”

  1. Mark said

    Balancing life and work – it is all to easy (especially in these “recession times” ) to work so hard that the balance is lost! Sometimes we need to work smarter and not harder! But is also about showing committment and value for money in other ways – not just the hours spent working but also in being enthusiastic and positive, supporting colleagues, “joining in” (but heaven forbid I need to play golf on Saturdays with the boss – where is the work life balance in that?) and looking for ways to make creative changes to the way in which the work is done.

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