Work-Life Balance: Those Darn Tennis Balls Again August 24, 2009Posted by integrityintegrated in Uncategorized.
Tags: work-life balance
Whether you call it work-life, or life-work, balance, the challenge remains the same: how do we juggle the priorities in life, especially when everything comes to us at once (and isn’t that usually how it happens)? Following is the prologue to an MBA student reflective paper submitted this summer. The student requested permission to submit the paper late. I told her that she could certainly take responsibility for making the choice whether to submit it late or not, however I reminded her that a late paper would receive a ten percent penalty. You will read about her choice.
“I’m turning in this paper late. Between class on Monday and my flight on Thursday, all three objects out of that life box came flying at me. The golf balls were work: My company announced second quarter earnings this week, and the hard golf balls were flying at me fast and furious all week. The marshmallows were family: I needed a baptism gift for my niece/soon to be God-daughter, and my husband asked me to visit him on RAGBRAI in Ottumwa “on my way” to the airport in Des Moines. Ottumwa is not on the way to Des Moines and a visit there would double my travel time and occupy my afternoon on a work day, and yet the marshmallow was thrown. The tennis ball was this paper. The metaphor fits because class is my extra-curricular, it’s fun for me, and it’s good for me just like physical exercise.
With so many objects flying at me, I thought about the inside-out approach you discussed in class and about the Warren Bennis quote in True North, “We have to be aware that we swing back and forth. It is choices all the time, not balance.” I connected with my intentions to help our company flourish and to be the best wife and aunt I can be, and I therefore chose to catch the golf balls and marshmallows. That meant the tennis ball dropped. I hope you don’t see it as any disrespect to you or the class. I knew I would eventually pick the ball up and try my best to serve an ace. But in the meantime, I was proud of myself for choosing to successfully catch the two things most important at that particular time. Had I tried to catch all three reactively, I likely would have failed across the board. Instead, I have a beautiful gift wrapped inside my suitcase, spent a great afternoon with my husband that I know he needed and appreciated, and the tennis ball now has my full, albeit tardy, attention.”
So, yes, the paper was submitted late and was docked the ten percent. However, it was also an excellent paper. And to be honest, I was THRILLED that the student made the choice she made.
Update 1/1/2012: Our blog has moved to a new home on our website, please visit us at http://integrityintegrated.com/resources/blog to read more!