It seems like lately, everyone is getting all existentially-angsty about work. I blame gas prices. (Just kidding! Mostly…)
Apparently, a lot of folks on the web are pondering work/life balance, the cost vs. benefit analysis of commuting, and how the nature of employment itself is changing. This is a topic that is only going to continue to spur discussion and debate.
The personal, economic, and environmental cost of commuting is skyrocketing. The influence of social media, greater access to increasingly better connectivity tools, and some fundamental, generational changes in the way we think about work means that it’s time to strap in, bunkies. The ride is going to get interesting.
The work world is changing, fast, and we’re all trying to figure out the new world order before it’s even here yet.
After writing my last post about losing touch with what keeps my work life vibrant and healthy, I caught several posts by other bloggers along similar themes.
- Nataly at Work It, Mom mentions that despite the increase in people working two jobs, Gen Y (and I personally think you have to include Gen X here as well) claim to value work/life balance more than previous generations.
- One of my favorite PR/Social Media bloggers Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent uses Daniel Lanois as an example of letting passion infuse your work life, and the rich rewards that come from that.
- Over on Sparkplugging, Dawud Miracle talks about how constantly asking yourself why you’re doing what you do is important to maintaining motivation in your work.
“…‘why’ is the question that gives meaning, that gives life, to your work. Why is the motivating factor that makes us consider our impact in the world.”
- Monika Mundell at The Writer’s Manifesto, in a post about finding streamlined, distraction-free writing tools, even added a little bit of work/life balance pondering.
“Since my workload is pretty much full all the time I don’t have much room for lost time. Of course this is between me working and trying to keep a balance with a social live, time spent with my husband and my beloved pets.”
- Power blogger Chris Brogan had a recent post where he, too, was threading some trends together that related to work/life balance, telecommuting, and the slightly more slippery idea of sharing your personal brand with your employer.
This is something of a sidebar, but I’ll admit that last idea is really intriguing to me. Over the last year or so, I’ve slowly (and probably sloppily) been trying to create my own personal brand, because I think I’ve instinctively understood that having a recognizable, respected personal brand in my field makes me a better asset for an employer.
(Awkward pause as I acknowledge that it makes me a better asset for an employer, until I leave their employment… okay, moving on.)
On second thought, that’s not entirely true. I think that if you achieve recognition and respect as an individual, I don’t think the value of that exits as soon as you exit a company’s payroll. Particularly if you’ve represented them well on the social web, and leave on good terms.
But back to the main thread in all this. Many people are clearly wrestling with the desire to create a vibrant, passionate work life that doesn’t detract from your other most treasured values–whether it’s the value they place on spending adequate time with their families, the value they place on their environmental impact, or the value they place on determining an equitable relationship with their employer.
I just think it’s interesting how this soulful, work-related wrestling has popped up in posts about mostly seemingly unrelated things. Which reminds me of another interesting, thought-provoking post from Chris Garrett.
Like it or not, your inner “stuff” tends to leak out. It does that in real world conversations, and it most certainly does in blogging, which is an intrinsically personal form of writing.
Half the time, when I’m reading the posts in my feed, I’m not so much reading what the post is ostensibly about (there are, after all, only so many posts a woman can digest on blogging tips.) Chris’ post helped me realize that much of the time, I’m actually reading these posts for the “between the lines,” ulterior conversation. Taken in aggregate, those “off topic” musings are the song of the zeitgeist, and tell you much about what’s going on in the anima mundi (“soul of the world”).
On a more personal note, I’m planning a little “work life balance” adjustment this weekend, going on an overnight with my sisters to a remote undisclosed location. My understanding is that there will be massages, cocktails, chick flicks, and a lot of conversation–not necessarily in that order.
See you all when I get back.
img courtesy of MeHere on SXC