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The Leader’s Voice: Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance: What about WLOIRFKE Balance?     

I agreed to write this article nearly three weeks ago.  Since that time, I have been having an ongoing discussion with myself about potential topics. While lying in bed…I thought about it. While watching ‘House of Cards’ (yes, I arrived late to this party)… I thought about it. While listening to ‘Mike and Mike’ on my drive into work… I thought about it. While helping my stepson count by 20s for his 2nd grade math homework… I thought about it.

What I realized, from all of this thinking:

  1. I over-analyze things
  2. I think about work a great deal
  3. It is okay that I think about work a great deal, while not at work

We’ve all read articles, seen blogs, and watched clips from ‘The Today Show’ focused on the topic of work-life balance. So then why, after so many moments spent thinking about potential topics, did I choose one that has been discussed ad nauseam?

Because I strive for balance. Because I want all of you to feel balanced. Because as a leader, this matters.

My first step when taking on a new task (like any stereotypical Millennial would) is to turn to ‘Google’. I searched what others have said about work-life balance? I searched how others define work-life balance? During my exhaustive review of Google, I found that the majority of articles, blogs and clips separate ‘work’ from ‘life.’

Why are they separate? Can they be harmonious?

I think that instead of work-life balance, it should be WLOIRFKE balance.  Notice what I did there? I combined the two words in an effort to express that work and life are often integrated and intertwined.

In an attempt to explain, I would like to refer back to my earlier story about the internal dialogue I had regarding writing this blog. For this example, I would instead like to insert the topic of – what to get my husband for our anniversary next week. While talking with the team about a new role that opened at MetLife, I thought about it. While sourcing on LinkedIn for a role with Thomson Reuters, I thought about it. While listening intently on a Supplier Call for an upcoming Web Designer role for Victoria’s secret, I thought about it.

What I realized from all of this thinking:

  1. I have no idea what I am going to get my husband for our anniversary
  2. I think about personal things a great deal
  3. It is okay that I think about personal things a great deal, while at work

Our brains are ‘magical machines’ that compartmentalize, focus, lose focus, provide insights, create anxiety, allow for euphoria, cause fear, etc. etc. etc. Therefore, we can trust these ‘magical machines’ to help us with WLOIRFKE Balance? As the world evolves with constant communication, instant access, we can evolve with it?

I love when I come home, my husband asks me if we got the placement at New York Life that we were waiting on pins and needles for an answer. I love when I come to work, my colleagues ask me if I had fun at my Niece’s birthday party on Saturday.

You do not have to love when work and life intertwine. Your balance is your own, and you must determine where your comfort lies. However, I recommend that you create your own mental boundaries and also trust your ‘magical machine.’ As a leader, it’s important to work to understand not only your ideal balance, but the ideal balance for those you lead.

This world of social media, TV, telephones, and all of the wonderful people in your life are going to pull you in many directions. It is up to you to proactively engage in creating your WLOIRFKE Balance.

About the Author:

Jenny

Jenny is a Director with Russell Tobin & Associates responsible for the growth and development of the firm’s presence in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market, including Russell Tobin and Associates’ National Recruitment Center of Excellence. She utilizes her established networks and knowledge of the area’s top-tier talent to provide clients with the highest level of service. Jenny focuses in the areas of contract, contract-to-hire, and direct hire recruitment.

Jenny began her career in public relations, working at a Minneapolis communications agency in the areas of public affairs and business-to-business communications. She quickly identified her passion for the Minnesota tech community which led to her position at the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA). During her time with MHTA, she served as the Director of Member Services where she focused on increasing engagement with the association and developing networks within the technical space in the Twin Cities.

Her professional networks and relationships allowed for a successful transition into the talent and recruitment industry. In her four years with a premier consulting and professional services firm, her role developed from a technical recruiter to the managing director of the firm’s Minneapolis/St. Paul region. In her current role with Russell Tobin, Jenny is able to utilize the knowledge gained throughout her career to better serve her team, the talent she is connected to, and her partner organizations. Jenny graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism, is a networker by nature and Packer fan since birth.