Thursday 24 April 2008

The Infamous Work-Life Balance Dilemma

Though I enjoy a corporate job, it is not the end all. It is a means for me to do the things that I like to do, travel being a very important part of that. When I am at work, I give it my 100% but the day it starts taking over my life, I know there is something wrong. Instead of coming in late like a lot of people, I am the first person to enter my office. The first 2 hours at work are my most productive ones. I don’t take casual breaks and make sure that I finish with my work by 6 in the evening. 9 hours of focused work is enough to do justice to any job at hand. The same job can be done by coming in at 10:30 … sitting around till 8 in the night with some coffee breaks thrown in, but I can bet you that my productivity level will be as good if not better. Following this work ethic also allows me some time to myself and at home. Even though the traffic ensures I don’t reach home before 8pm, I atleast have time to read a book, take a walk, chat with my husband…things that seem so normal but we normally ignore. The weekend helps me recharge and look forward to getting back to office on Monday.

It is not true that the other way of living will kill me. I can work till 8pm everyday, get home around 9:30, eat food and sleep off. But I see no point in existing that way. Life is too short to waste. I do justice to my responsibilities but guard my personal space and time in a manner that borders on fanaticism.

When you think about it, it is quite surprising that the concept of sabbaticals doesn’t exist in India like it does in most countries. It is assumed that if you don’t jump from one job to another without a break in the middle, your CV value is reduced. How do you explain one becoming a worse manager or losing the skills he/she had just because they wanted to take some time off to invest in themselves or their family. From personal experience, I can endorse that I am as good a manager and probably a happier person because I decided to take a break and experiment with things that interested me like travel, running my father’s business or even managing my own house.

It is really asking for too much if I want to take some time off in a few years when I plan to start a family? Isn’t it more important to nurture the experience rather than worry about 3 months of maternity leave getting over? Will I really not be as good an asset to a company just because I made the most obvious choice? India really needs to grow up and support women and their dilemma in this regard. And I am glad that the ball has started rolling….Tata has come up with a Second Career program addressing the exact same issue that I am plagued with while planning for the future (http://www.tatasecondcareer.com). Cheers to Tata and here is hoping that this sentiment spreads far and wide in our professional culture.

1 comment:

Tracey said...

Hey Harnoor... I completely agree with you. I've been wanting to go on a sabbatical, figure out when, what, where... life... but like you said, in this country, the value of your resume does not just stagnate, it depreciates... it's depressing..