Work-life balance should be easy right now. It's early July, after all. Chances are you're reading this article on your phone from a beach or a lake. But work-life balance is easy now because soon it won't be. The 2016 season beckons. November will be here before any of us know it.
In light of that, I thought it would be timely to share this article from the Wall Street Journal, which asks 25 male CEOs how they tilt the seesaw between their jobs and their life.
Since it's a piece coming entirely from CEOs mouths, they collectively paint the issue with more dimension than "family good, work bad." As AdRoll's Aaron Bell says, "It’s really difficult having two things in your life that are such high priority. You always feel like you’re sub-optimizing for both."
Here's the blurb on JustFab's Adam Goldenberg (I'll pause to level with you here, most of these companies and the men running them are completely anonymous to me, and likely to you, too. Then again, I doubt they could break down the difference between the Mid-American and Missouri Valley conferences, either):
Mr. Goldenberg says he did a bad job at balancing work and life until 2014. “I love working,” he says. Executive coaching and a personality assessment helped him rethink the time he spent with his children. He now makes it home for dinner three nights a week and tries to block off weekends for family. “It’s hard,” he says.
Another truth touched on in the piece -- most of you reading this don't have direct control over how work and life are balanced. CEOs have the most on their collective plates, but they're also in the best position to balance themselves; no one stands at the door to point them back to their desks at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Addepar's Eric Poirier combats this by building in his daughter's pediatric appointments and bedtimes into company-wide schedules, giving everyone else in the company an implicit understanding they, too, have the freedom to attend to their family's needs as they arise.
One important tip for those who aren't at home as much as they'd like to be: when you're home, be home. "It’s a struggle. I think of it as finding some harmony between work and life," said Microsoft's Satya Nadella. "Even if it’s just small things. Like if I take my daughter to a lacrosse game, how much time am I on the phone versus actually watching her lacrosse game? I strive for the few moments that I’m doing something with them that I’m actually present."
I encourage you to check the piece out. Some points will apply to you, others won't, but there's something in there for everybody. Let's end with this quote from Marsh & McLennan Cos's Dan Glaser:
"When you’re younger, you have this sense of your own immortality and you’ll always be able to catch up. You’ll make it up to your kid or you’ll make it up to your wife.
"But your kids are only young once and you can’t get that moment back."