Work Life Balance is Overrated

Addinator's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 3,441

I've always been of the opinion that you work to live, not live to work. I embraced that Idea through college where god knows I lived far more than I worked. Unfortunately, I've now found myself in a position where I'm reluctant to take off work because I enjoy it. Maybe I'm lucky or just bat-shit crazy, but I never in a million years thought I'd embrace waking up at 5 am to go into the office or give up some weekends to churn stuff out. Granted, I'm not in banking so I'm not logging crazy stupid hours but I still do my fair share.

Here are some bullets from an HBR article that made me feel slightly better about my thinking

  • People who have jobs, rather than careers, worry about work-life balance because they are unable to have fun at work
  • Technology has not ruined your work-life balance, it has simply exposed how boring your work and your life used to be.
  • Complaining about your poor work-life balance is a self-indulgent act.
  • Hard work may be your most important career weapon.

One of the things I've discovered is how I don't flinch at the prospect of working late or weekends and people call me crazy. Hell, some of my friends call me crazy in regards to having work email on my phone and being constantly accessible. They'd never dream of giving up that right. Frankly, I can't imagine not having work email because things don't always happen during normal hours. In fact, the stuff you need to be accessible for, never happens during normal hours. I don't think you can section your life off anymore, especially if your looking to get ahead and move up. Sure, it sucks not being able to go our every night or get home 'in time for dinner' but is that really a huge deal at this point? Anyway. What say you guys? Is balance overrated when it comes to work life and personal life? Can allowing the two to combine to the extreme actually end up making both more interesting and enjoyable?

Comments (27)

Feb 15, 2013

It depends on if your personal life is shitty or great to an extent. Of course, someone who is alone and not a social butterfly would not mind working late or weekends because it gives that person a sense of importance and the illusion of having a life.

Depends on the person, but a balance is not only important for enjoyment but moreso for sanity and to prevent burnout.

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Feb 15, 2013

I think work life balance is overrated during your analyst years, but once you have a family it has to be there. I rarely go into the office during the weekends but I will log in from my laptop on my couch and get some things done, and I also don't work crazy late, but i do wake up by 5:30 every morning and I sometimes don't get back home until past 10 or 11. But it's better to do it now at a great job that I enjoy so that I can have the perfect work/life balance when I'm in my 30's and starting a family.

I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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Feb 15, 2013

@OP and rogersterling: What do you guys do for a living and what title do you have?

Feb 15, 2013
Banker88:

@OP and rogersterling: What do you guys do for a living and what title do you have?

I'm a first year analyst in private banking. Why do you ask?

I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

Feb 15, 2013
rogersterling59:
Banker88:

@OP and rogersterling: What do you guys do for a living and what title do you have?

I'm a first year analyst in private banking. Why do you ask?

Was curious for what job you have to wake up so early and get home so late, yet still enjoy what you're doing. Having done investment banking, I realized how important it is to have a job you enjoy, as well as have a good work-life balance. I'm glad I realized this early in life, as I've seen others at my company being miserable with their careers.

Feb 15, 2013
rogersterling59:
Banker88:

@OP and rogersterling: What do you guys do for a living and what title do you have?

I'm a first year analyst in private banking. Why do you ask?

You're in Private Banking and you're working 16 hour days as first year analyst? Why?

Feb 15, 2013

You have to think about the bigger picture. The working force in finance would be between 20-60 years old. Can you really keep up what you do for the next 40 years while sustaining a family? How will your family view your work to live motto when they never see you/spend time with you?

Feb 15, 2013

If you are lucky and really enjoy your work, then that's great. But, it's important to have some sort of balance. Diversify the things you do, both professionally and personally.

I also think that it's perfectly fine for someone to want a 40 - 50 hour a week gig and to not bust their ass working all the time. Everyone has different values, nothing wrong with that as long as no one is getting hurt.

Feb 15, 2013

Do you what you want to do, period. You think Buffet is working because he has to? He could have retired when he was in his 30s with a good deal of wealth. He works because he wants to, for one reason or another.

And I personally agree that work is life. Honestly, it's pretty sad if it's not, you spend a huge amount of time there.

Feb 15, 2013

Define work life balance? We've had this discussion on this site a couple times, your idea of 'balance' and mine are likely different, for me, 80-90 hours a week is 'balanced', while 40 hours in the office and spending 40 hours a week watching TV is abhorent.

Feb 15, 2013

great discussion a couple weeks ago: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/why-are-we-o...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Feb 15, 2013

I agree that the ideal balance ratio has a lot to do with how your "work" and "life" are, amongst other personality traits. For example, I have friends who living sitting on their ass doing nothing- they'd probably find balance at 40 hrs/ week. I also know people who need to feel busy- they'd probably find it closer to 80/ week. There's no one size fits all for this topic. There's also people who love clocking hours because they simply want to get away from their wives. On the other hand, there's people that never want to work because of how great their personal lives are. Pretty much, quality of personal life + quality of work life + personality traits = ideal work/life ratio (balance)

Feb 15, 2013

In the tech industry is seems much more like a blending of work/life in tandem rather than an on-off relationship.

My .02

Feb 15, 2013

Yeah OP I think you hit the nail on the head that if you have fun at work, it makes all the difference. If your boss is a jerk on the other hand and poor at managing, work sucks, even if you enjoy the content/mission of the work.

Finance can be really fun and exciting - winning new clients, getting things done, earning fees, making good investments, figuring out tough problems - it's a challenging, stimulating job if you are in the right spot. Hopefully by the time you want to have more flexibility, like to take the kids to hockey practice and go to their rock shows etc, you can get it - ultimately you want to be in control and be able to say 'no' to work when you need to, but that comes with time.

OP curious what's your approx age and what's your longterm goal? Peeked at profile and I think I saw the yr 1989...which first made me feel really old...and then reminded me what I was thinking about at that age, and how much life changes between those years and now. You're in for a trip.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Feb 15, 2013

I love my job.

I would never want to spend more hours doing it than I absolutely have to.

Feb 15, 2013
atomic:

I love my job.

I would never want to spend more hours doing it than I absolutely have to.

I would say that I don't really care about work-life balance, the HBR blurb rings true for me. But I will say: Face-time / life balance is very important to me. If I don't have anything productive to do, I want to spend as little time browsing the web or doing busy work as possible.

So in that sense... I don't care about WORK/life balance, but of course I would never want to work more than I have to.

Feb 15, 2013

If you think work/life balance is overrated, then you've never had a life.

Feb 15, 2013

CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG

My oh my, that's some might fine koolade

I like my job and all, but I'd be skiing/surfing/sleeping/fucking/writing music/...pretty much anything else if I was wealthy.

....juss sayin' is all

Feb 15, 2013
UFOinsider:

CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG

My oh my, that's some might fine koolade

I like my job and all, but I'd be skiing/surfing/sleeping/fucking/writing music/...pretty much anything else if I was wealthy.

....juss sayin' is all

Shit you not, I'd drop out of school today and golf if I had built enough wealth for myself by now. College is great for a while, but the only reason I'm here now is for one little essential number: 3.7

Feb 15, 2013
UFOinsider:

CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG

My oh my, that's some might fine koolade

I like my job and all, but I'd be skiing/surfing/sleeping/fucking/writing music/...pretty much anything else if I was wealthy.

....juss sayin' is all

This. I like my job a lot and am interested in the industry I cover, but in the end it pays the bills.

Feb 15, 2013
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Feb 15, 2013