Work-Life Balance

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MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION LB5205: HUMAN RELATION AT THE WORK- PLACE| WORK- LIFE BALANCE| (Reflective journal)| | | | LECTURER: DR. LISA TOMBALAKIAN SUBMITTED BY: PHAM THU THUY- 12517827 INTRODUCTION WHAT DO I UNDERSTAND ABOUT WORK- LIFE BALANCE? After graduated from Hanoi National University ( one of the biggest university in Vietnam), two months later, I was hired by a telecom company. At that time, there were already 3 telecom companies in the market and our company EVN was a new entrant.

As a new competitor in the market, we must struggle very hardly with other competitors to gain the market share and in order to achieve the profit goals. A majority of employees in the company usually worked overtime. I worked 12 to 14 hours per day and usually gone to the company on weekend. Heavy work load had turned my personal characteristic. I got irritated with my parent whenever they asked me why I often worked late and why I was staying too much in the company instead of spending time with family and friends. I ignored their complaint and continued to work hard.

When the Head of my department was tranfered to another department, I was seen as a successor. However, my manager took a person from outside to this position and the reasons were that I was the yougest in the department and I haven’t got married. I was really shock by knowing that my manager not only has evaluated my performance but also has observed my life outside working. At that time, I haven’t yet known something called work- life balance. Epicurus, in the third century BC, wrote “ A balanced life is the solution to the search for happiness”.

So, what is the meaning of “ work- life balance” ? I went to library, picked up some books and tried to find out the definition of work- life balance. However, there are not an unique definition for work- life balance. I was quite surprised that work- life balance is understood in many ways. For some people, work- life balance means an equal balance every day. This is a very ideal equality. This is related to the choices we make between the time we spend at paid work and unpaid work ( work at home, with family) and the time for ourselves such as recreation.

Greenhaus, Collins ans Shaw (2003) suggest that balance should be considered from three perspectives: * Time balance: how time is divided between the roles we play at work, at home, with family and friends, in the community, in our religious or spiritual affiliation * Involvement balance: how our psychological involvement is invested in these roles * Satisfaction balance: how much satisfaction we gain from the roles For others, especially workaholics, they tend to find balance at the work place. For them, work and pleasure should go together and should not distinguish one from other.

Therefore, the sense of balance is reached when they find the meaning and purpose of what they are doing. “ You should love your work with the same passion as you love life”. ( Passion at work- Lawler Kang, Mark Albion) Most companies view work and personal life as competing priorities in a zero- sum game, in which a gain in one area means a loss in the other. “The sense of balance, hence, based on either- or, win-lose type of scenario” (Neal E. Chalofsky). People in this situation accept, in some extent, the expenses they must pay in order to gain the other things. Work and personal life are two parts of a person’s life. Balance is not about work opposed to the rest of your life, but about accepting all the parts of life” (Neal E. Chalofsky). Therefore, balance is a sense of completion on life. It depends on the way we make choices and manage the tensions between work and life. We should not let one area like work dominate so much that we forget or underestimate the value of other areas such as self care, community activities, family relationship, friends, spiritual and religious concerns. “All work no play is stressful and all play no work quickly becomes boring and meaningless” (Neal E. Chalofsky).

Balance also means nourishing oursleves, taking care of our spirit, emotion, physique and mentality. Three reasons to chose work life balance: * Personal growth: challenge, career advancement and self worth. * Family and social life: relationship, and care giving, community activities. * Personal life: be authentic, true to ourselves about what we are, what we want and how to get there. THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK- LIFE BALANCE Instead of living to work, people are working to live. Nowadays, in a turbulent market, while competition is increasing, job security is becoming lower. People therfore are forced to work overtime.

However, working overtime can cause serious consequences on both their career and personal life. Spending too much time on working may harm the employees’ health and prevent them from concentration on work performance. When I was working at EVN, working overtime even at weekend and high pressure made me exhausted especially on Monday. Normally, I would welcome every clients who came to or called our company but one day, I still remember that day, because of stress and exhaustion, I got irritated with my customer on the telephone when she was complaining about our services.

I told her : “ You are gossipy and annoying”. That was a terrible mistake I have made. Unbalance of my work- life has damaged my relationship with family. My parents were not happy with my job. They complained that I loved company more than family and they thought now I had a job, I made money and I did not need to take care to them. For me, I thought that my parents were not on my side and felt hard to face them. Coming back from office, I just wanted to be alone in my room with my computer. At that time, I did not know my parents’ needs were that I spent time to talk to them, had diner and saw a TV show with them.

The fact is that I was not happy at all. For us to work efficiently in the work place, we must first find happiness in our home. Company needs a workforce who can think independently and put his or her own contribution to the company’ goal. A relaxed mind can deal with emergency and monotony with calm and humor. People who get trouble in family do not work with 100% of their ability. Conversly, those who get a great joy out of their work function more efficiently if they get a great joy out of their homes as well.

Success is no longer viewed as making a ot of money or prosperity or having high position in company, the meaning of success now is wider as it includes all aspects of our lives such as “peace of mind, good health and a high level of energy, loving relationships, financial freedom, commitment to worthy goals and ideals, and a feeling of personal fulfillment or self-actualization” ( Brian Tracy- Maximum Achievement). Success is all about work- life balance. A successful person is one who love what he or she is doing, find the meaning and purpose in doing this, and enjoy his or her personal life. HOW TO HAVE A WORK- LIFE BALANCE

Adversity was the positive force that encouraged me to change. Only later, I realized that the company was not standing in my way of getting all that I wanted in my life. Finally, I decided to change and do what I really love and want to do. The books that I have read show me some methods to have a work- life balance. I wrote down all things that are the best for me. These are: * Understand myselft: know what is the best for me, my purpose of doing this and have a plan to get it. * Take care of myself: do things that support me and my vision, take a break, hang out or do exercise that help improve my health and refesh my spirit. Learning to manage time: divide properly time to pursuit my goals and prioritize the most important goal. * Slow down: take steps to stop and enjoy things and people around me, and get away from something that causes me the most stress. * Explore the options: get help from others if I am overwhelming and avoid to take multitasks at the same time. * Simplify : avoid to make my problems complicated, look these things as simple as possible and try to say no with things I do not want to do or agree. * Know it won’t always be perfect: Do what I can and enjoy whatever time I spend more pleasantly or productively.

Be grateful for what goes right and learn from mistakes. CONCLUSION Oprah, in the April 2003 edition of her magazine said that: “ You can’t have everything and do everything at the same time. So pick what will make you happiest in work and in life and go from there”. That’s what one of the most successful women in the world want to share with others based on her experience in real life and work. For me, after leaving my job, I came back to study and I found that that will be a great time for me to refesh my self including my knowledge and skills, nourish my self and build up relationship with friends, which I haven’t done before.

REFERENCES: 1. Brad Harrington, Douglas T. Hall,2007, Career Management and Work life Intergration, Sage Publications 2. Lawler Kang, Mark Albion, 2006, Passion at work, Pearson Education, Inc 3. Jenifer Remling, Joe Remling, 2009, Carve your own road, Career press, Franklin Lakes,NJ 4. Clare Walker, 2005,Be the life & soul of the party, Crown House Publishing Ltd 5. Alistair McAlpine, Kate Dixey, 2003, Triumph from failure, Texere, Thomson Corporation 6. Diane M. Houston, 2005, Work life balance in the 21st century, Palgrave Macmillan 7.

The Harvard business interview on work and life balance, Harvard college, USA 8. Laura Nash, Howard Stevenson, 2004, Just enough: tools for creating success in your work and life, John Wiley& Sons, Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey 9. Theresa M. Szczurek,PhD,2005,Pursuit of passionate purpose, John Wiley & Sons, Inc 10. Andrew J. Dubrin, 2008, Human relation for career and personal success 8th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall 11. Neal E. Chalofsky, 2010, Meaningful workplaces: Reframing, How and Where we work, John Wiley & Sons, Inc