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Work Life Balance for professionals


Pashupati Chaudhary

Work Life Balance is just a “Phrase of Fashion” or lack of opposition between work and life. Work life balance is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal, professional and family life are equal, cordinated & integrated. It consists of flexible work arrangements that allow professionals to carry out other life programs and practices.

Most of professionals, when they compare between work & life, think that work is bad & life is good. Going from work on Friday evening excites every professional, on the other hand going to work on Sunday morning feels like exhausted & lethargic.

In the beginning, we have many wants in life esp. like name, fame, wealth, recognition, health & family needs. When we, as professionals think of achieving these goals, we generally look upon at role models, heroes & dream figures. They are all different in personalities, profession, outlook, character and ambitions but they all have one thing in common i.e. hard, hard work.

It has been seen that spending extended hours at work, shifting in work requirements, overtime or evening work duties” could lead to an imbalance between work and family duties or responsibility. It has been demonstrated “that time spent at work positively correlate with both work interference with family and family interference with work.

Professionals who expose themselves to job stress, because they enjoy high social recognition are more prone to have imbalance in life. Lack of time leads to pressure which is based on the individual’s age, the age and number of children in the household, marital status, the profession and level of employment, and the income level. Strong pressure of time leads to increased psychological burden, which in turn affects health of professionals. Psychological strain or burden is also affected by the complexity of work, the growing responsibilities.

Work life imbalance can affect professionals of any discipline but having said that healthcare professionals especially doctors are more prone to suffer due to nature of work, tense working environment, overwork, unhealthy competition among colleagues, loneliness, peer group pressure, pressure to perform & lack of recreational activities.

Work life imbalance lead to stress, stress have become a major concern to professionals and organization. Symptoms of stress are manifested both physiologically and psychologically. Persistent stress can result in cardiovascular disease, sexual problems, loss of libido, a weaker immune system and frequent headaches,or backache. It can also result in poor coping skills, irritability, insecurity, exhaustion, and difficulty in concentration. Stress may also lead to eating disorder, change in smoking, and alcohol consumption habits.

We have seen many people like farmers, daily labourers working very hard in their respective jobs but they are less stressful & enjoy the life to the fullest. Simply working hard is not enough anymore; little time which is left from work should be divided up among relationships, kids, and sleep.

Of late,work has become more tense, working environment has become more competitive, has put enormous stress on professionals affecting work life balance. The increase in work hours over the past two decades means that less time will be spent with family, friends, kids and community as well as pursuing activities that one enjoys and taking the time to grow personally and spiritually.

The pressure that society exerts on individual professional can cause them to have an uncertain attitude. Professionals have fear of their own limits, not to achieve what the society expects, and especially the desire for recognition in all areas of life. In today’s society, competition in working place manifests itself in various ways.

When professionals worked beyond their capacity in any organization, Organizations have to pay the price. The changing global social demands have changed the structure and nature of traditional work practices. Work is not just a matter of necessity or survival but of personal and professional development and family satisfaction.

Work life balance engage professionals to the organization while allowing them to have a balanced life outside of the workplace. This has become an organizational responsibility due to the fact that the demand for flexibility is increasing and the opposite of it brings dissatisfaction which is not beneficial for the organization Religion and spirituality play a role in work life balance as they are part of diversity management and accommodations in the workplace. Religion and spirituality represent an essential issue in diversity management; religious beliefs are often associated with their ethical beliefs, and played an important role in self identity.

If we look at successful professionals around the globe, they all have common in their habits: they set goals, take responsibility for life, have great self discipline, obsessed with self development, manage their time well, take risks, keep going when suffer setbacks, find a way to win, do what they love & read a lot. Successful professionals are not gifted; they just work hard then succeed on purpose.

Mr. Narayana Murthy of Infosys, on being asked how they became an overnight success, replied: ‘By working hard for 25 years’. Impatience can draw a professional like surgeon towards unwanted procedures. Oprah Winfrey, on being asked the same question, replied: I would never see day light, I would come into work at 5.30 am in the morning when it was dark and leave at 8 pm when it was dark. There was no success without hard work, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Work is something we, as professionals do every day in life but it should not be monotonous & boring rather taken as fun or recreation. Jimmy Pattison, chairman, Jim Pattison group, replied; business is recreation, I would rather go to our factories and meet with people, than go to beach. Rupert Murdoch, media tycoon on being asked about work, replied: It’s all work hard, nothing comes easily but I have a lot of fun. The same question being asked to Dave Lavery, NASA Whiz, replied: we work our fingers to bone but it doesn’t seem like work, its fun, it’s what we want to do.

Now, the question arises, what kept these extremely talented & hard working people happy and balanced. The fact is successful professionals have passion, work, focus, push, ideas, improve, serve, and persist in common. Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer, was such an example when, after 20 years of cricket history, he said: ‘I only think of playing good cricket, nothing else. The hunger for runs is the same today as when I started’. Similar commitment was echoed in the words of Joe DiMaggio, the NY Yankees striker: ‘I cannot relax in any game. There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time, I owe him my best’. People with such attitude and commitments have never been stood second to anyone.

So, despite being workaholic, when does the work become problem for professionals? Work is Labor, when you think you work for “Someone else”. It is Drudgery, when you are working for “Pay”& Work become fatigue, when you work without “Innovation”i.e the problem for most of the professionals especially doctors. Sistine Chapel, a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City, which took 4 years from 1508-1512 to complete & amount of dedication towards the work by professional artist, had created one of the best innovation & rest is history Steve Jobs once said to: the only way to do great work is to love what you do. Remember Steve Jobs question: ‘When was the last time that you did something for the first time? Institutions & individuals have to reinvent themselves in every five years; otherwise, they are going to die in next five years.

Profession degrades to work when there is no purpose or passion, for that you as professionals have to chose the suitable place or institutions. You have to be where you are needed, where you can contribute, where you will be useful, you have to where you belong and write your own story & song. We, as professionals devote so much for work, What about Life? We have to be very strong here too like family, health, faith, love, learning, relationship & recreation. Bitter truth is you cannot excel in one aspect of life only. If you are struggling in one areas of life; you will be pretty stressed in every area in life, so pay more attention to areas that are dragging you down.

Work wife balance is the single most important factor that balances professional’s life. Families of professional does need quality time, have to understand each other’s problem & difficulties & never laugh at your wife’s choices because you are one of them Happiness has nothing to do with time available. If you and your wife are happy soul mates, you enjoy & savor the time you are together- little or more: If not more the time you have more the dangerous the condition will be. Happiness in marriage is very very personal and individualized matter. If you think that you have an unhappy marriage because of work you have to think again & again as professionals. In marriage and life, you don’t blame all your unhappiness on your work. Stress comes from mismatch between desire and effort.

You have to enjoy the life to the fullest but in name of life, don’t get filled with distractions. There are no common formula for balances in life, the right balance differ from person to person. If you as professionals operate with promise that the work & life different then both are going to suffer and you are always in problem. Always remember: work is a part of life, work is a component of life. Work has to be titrated to each ones ambition and capacity.

Work and stress are two different entities. The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work. This manifests in a way that rate of suicide is increasing in younger professionals.If your work does not interest you, it is going to stress you anyway. If you like a job, stress isn’t working 15 hours at job but if you dislike, stress is working 15 minutes at job.

Happiness is basically a “personal issue”. Professionals not only need to balance life but must have to integrate & that requires small shift in attitude. But truth is the world has moved forwards on the shoulders of people who have never in balance. If everyone in this world has dreamt of only leisure and relaxation, the world will be such a dull people to live in.

So,We, as professionals need to balance our life, but we have to focus on work, at the same time have to manage time for family, friends or other social interaction & recreational activities.

* Pashupati Chaudhary: Professor, Department of Orthopaedics (Consultant Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon) at B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences,Dharan, Nepal.

** Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Asia Live.

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