Is a work life balance an impossible dream?

This mum thinks so.

Google the phrase “work life balance” and this is what you get;

“Work-life balance is a concept including proper prioritising between ‘work’ (career and ambition) and ‘lifestyle’ (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).”

Oh the irony that the Chief Financial Officer at Google resigned recently for work life balance reasons.

Patrick Pichette is a former Rhodes Scholar with over 25 years of senior business administration experience. He was appointed Senior Vice President and CFO at Google in 2008. He announced his resignation on 11 March citing family reasons and a desire to concentrate on his marriage. (Admirable.)

"Pichette’s letter of resignation hit the web late last week."

Pichette’s letter of resignation hit the web late last week. He writes, “life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community.”

Is Pichette saying that the best way to get work life balance is to quit working?… Huh.

Google is renowned the world over for the way it treats its employees. The benefits include extended leave, providing food on site, sport and leisure equipment and recognising that employees who have regular breaks and enough time with their families are much more likely to be loyal and have a higher productivity.

Check out the Google Careers website, “our benefits are part of who we are, and they’re designed to take care of the whole you and keep you healthy, whether physically, emotionally, financially or socially… It’s all about removing barriers so Googlers [google employees] can focus on the things they love, both inside and outside of work.”

"It seems to be a problem that might be fixed, potentially, by throwing money at it."

You’d think the big bosses at Google would be even better placed to manage it. It seems to be a problem that might be fixed, potentially, by throwing money at it. A bit of help around the house, delegation to a junior employee or two, and getting someone to pick up the kids from school every once in a while would pretty well get me the best work life balance I could ever hope (or would ever want) to attain.

Work life balance is something we all aspire too, but that is becoming increasingly harder to achieve. But, what Pichette’s resignation suggests is that it might not even be possible.

We live in a world of smartphones, and constant distraction. We multi-task, despite the fact that brain science suggests multi-tasking isn’t even possible. We’re all working longer, and we’re all working harder.

The pressure is even higher for women, who STILL take on the lion’s share of caring and home responsibilities.

It makes you think, doesn’t it? If Google employees can’t get work life balance right, then what hope do mere mortals like us really have?

Do you think you can have a good balance between work and life?

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