What would you like to show for your working life when you come to retirement? A big pension, huge house, flash car or a close-knit loving family? Can you have both?
It’s one of life’s great dilemmas to fully commit to our careers and give enough time to our personal relationships too. There are some jobs that are almost entirely incompatible with fully engaging at home with a young family but it’s still a challenge that most of us try and overcome.
A lot of time, effort and organisation is required in order to strike a balance that yields equal success in the workplace and at home.
Nigel Marsh, author of Fat, Forty, and Fired, debates the genuine difficulty of finding an equilibrium that allows us to cater for the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of our lives.
The former marketing executive discovered that getting fired at the age of 40 was the best thing to happen to him. It afforded him time to really dedicate himself to his family and when he returned to work, he made it his mission to find a lifestyle that would allow him to get the best of both worlds.
He started by identifying what he considered to be the perfect day in terms of balancing his work, spending time with his family and pursuing his favourite leisure activities. But he soon came to the realisation that it was unrealistic; he just couldn’t fit everything into a 24-hour period.
At the other end of the spectrum, it doesn’t seem right to put everything on hold until retirement. Most especially if that means the majority of your years chained to a desk.
Instead the ad man emphasises that you don’t have to be at the extremes of the dilemma, it’s the small things that can make a difference. Be that picking your kids up from school once a week, catching a game with friends at the weekend or simply being home in time for dinner more often than not.
By ensuring that these smaller things happen regularly you can improve and enhance your personal life, which is likely to have a favourable influence on your work.
Marsh concludes that if enough people follow his mantra, then society’s perception of success will alter away from being focused on financial wealth. Perhaps we should be celebrating and highlighting those people who have managed to conduct a well-balanced life instead.