I'm in the minority here: "balance" has been marginalized to the point of danger, both in this article and in the 'always on' culture we've been breeding for the last five years.
This article is teed up like 'balance' and 'work-life integration' are mutually exclusive terms - but it's clear in the article that they're not.
Flex hours enable us to walk away from the computer when we need to. That's balance. Exercise equipment at work help us break away for physical activity. That's balance. Paid vacation enables us to decompress. That's balance.
Let's stop treating "balance" like it's a four-letter word.
In the big picture, the common element is meaningfulness. If life and work are equally as meaningful, the outcome (by-products, not results) is the same, whether its balance, integration, satisfaction, whatever.
If one has more meaning than the other, then you're always chasing the average of the 2, whether it's balance, integration, etc. to increase your overall satisfaction.
If neither has much meaning...well, then it's time to rethink.
While I agree with points of the article about what we want, I don't agree Gen Y is any different than previous generations. Gen Y has the internet: easier to glorify our work as if it's more important and more challenging than of those before us.
Good points, Raj. It's important we find meaning in the activities that require most of our time - and it's not so hard if we tie them back to our core values.
However, I believe there are activities that we do every day because they're meaningful (higher-order thinking on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) and activities we do every day because they're basic needs that help us perform meaningful activities (the lower sections of the hierarchy).
People confuse balance with only doing meaningful tasks. I've seen web professionals proudly proclaim that they're working into the wee hours of the morning, surviving on gallons of coffee and very little sleep every night - not around an approaching deadline, but just because that's what they do.
(Side note: To be fair, I'm not those people. I can't go more than three days in a row with less than 5 hours of sleep every night. I don't drink coffee. Perhaps those people have a unique biological rhythm where they can do that their whole lives, but SO MANY PEOPLE say they live like this that I doubt ALL of them really *can*.)
This is why I say marginalizing "balance" is dangerous. Balance isn't always about doing all meaningful activity, but doing things that our bodies and minds need on a primal level just to be able to function, to "avoid burnout".
Agreed! Work-Life integration is more important than balance!
So true: "'When Millennials say they want balance,' they don’t mean work less. They mean work differently and more flexibly."
Perfect, almost eerie. This is almost like reading the other side to my astrological sign or something. Defines what I'm all about a bit too well lol. Great stuff!
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