Friday, September 24, 2004

Big Bucks vs. Balance

There's a great thread going at Worthwhile about Big Bucks vs. Balance. The initial post was a response to a Fast Company feature called Balance is Bunk, with the central premise being that the work-life balance is a myth:
"you can't have both a big paycheck and reasonable hours. The laws of economics won't allow it. If we want time with our families, time to give back to our communities, time to stay slim, we're going to have to accept a pay cut -- and even then, we'll have to work darned hard."
I'm seeing the truth in this idea that we can't really have it both ways as an employee, and even entrepreneurs struggle with working too much. This discussion tends to veer into questions about our definitions of success and how we measure our quality of life. I thought this comment from Jeffrey Cufaude was spot on:
"Big depends on your appetite, and if you have reasonable expectations for consumption of consumer goods and the like, you can work modest hours and feel quite financially secure. But that means living in the not so big house and making other choices that I’m afraid too many Americans at least see as counter to their definition of success. In some respects, isn’t our entire economy dependent upon people binging on more and more so they must keep working more and more in order to pay for it."
Although most middle-class north americans believe that they're entitled to their slice of the American Dream and all the goodies that includes, those of us who want to spend less time working will have to find ways to reduce our costs. An old classmate of mine is also wondering about life in the fast lane these days:
"I think many young adults are now questioning the lifestyle choices of the previous generation. Why do we need the two car, 3000 sq ft home, and $100,000 + salary? What is the best way to raise kids in this postmodern society? How do we best educate our children? We all know what a failure the public school system is and universities are not much better. Why do we live the lives we do and are there some better choices that we could make? Perhaps living a life that is simpler and maybe does not require two full-time incomes is the way to go."
And while we're on the topic, I don't want to lose this excellent list of benefits of flexible work arrangements, both for workers and employers.

No comments: