Work Life Balance

An interesting take on work-life balance:

Consequently, we’ve been conceiving of the topic of work-life balance all wrong. And I’d posit a new way in which to explore the issue by fundamentally redefining the terms. Starting with the end in mind, the goal most of us are striving for is fulfillment and human flourishing—both others’ and ours. This might be something like the old Aristotelian concept of eudaemonia. It is not just a happy or balanced life—though it may be happy—but a good life, one lived for worthy purposes and, in a way, uplifting to others.

John Coleman uses the framework pictured above to describe the various attributes of work and life.

Misery, drudgery and superficiality are hardly the building blocks of a flourishing, fulfilled life. Although I do read about the trends with far more joyless than joyful people in corporate environments. And I am not sure that it all has to do with reframing the narrative with the individual employee. Consider the recent New York Times article on Amazon:

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

… Amazon may be singular but perhaps not quite as peculiar as it claims. It has just been quicker in responding to changes that the rest of the work world is now experiencing: data that allows individual performance to be measured continuously, come-and-go relationships between employers and employees, and global competition in which empires rise and fall overnight. Amazon is in the vanguard of where technology wants to take the modern office: more nimble and more productive, but harsher and less forgiving.

Seems as though some corporate leaders are just fine with a harsher and less forgiving “modern” office. I think it would be hard for any person to flourish in those types of environments and I wouldn’t willingly choose to serve in such an environment.

Life is too short to be spending most of the day in misery, drudgery and superficiality.

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