Work-life balance, what is that anyway?

Work-life balance tops pay-- this according to a recent Hudson survey of 1,634 workers who have been in their current jobs for at least five years. The question: what is the primary reason you accepted your current position? Work-life balance topped the list, over compensation (a close second), work culture, training opportunities and advancement opportunities. As a life and career coach, I teach women how to balance work with the rest of their life. But what does that really mean? My hairdresser asked me a question that got me thinking about the topic-- she is the owner of the salon, in her early thirties, with twin toddlers and a third child on the way. To say she is juggling a lot of responsibilities is an understatement. "Balance," she said as she applied more foils, "do you think you have that?"

Hmm... let me think about that. I am also a business owner in my early thirties, but I only have one toddler destroying my house. But still. Happy? Yes. Balanced? I'll have to get back to you on that.

I believe what most people are seeking is a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Balance is a moving target. Life is never perfectly balanced... some days things get way out of proportion. I think the key is noticing when things are getting out whack and adjusting when necessary. When there are areas of our lives that are being seriously neglected, our bodies and emotions rebel. I believe those who put a premium on work-life balance are really saying they want a career that doesn't crowd out everything else they love in life. If you're working all day and night and constantly getting sucked into the black hole of the crackberry, chances are, you're missing out on a lot of other important stuff. Like exercise, sleep, quality time with family and friends, and personal hobbies and interests outside of work. Oh-- and getting a highlight in the middle of the day. That's pretty fun, too.