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Balance vs. Imbalance

Sylvia MacArthur, Madison MacArthur, December 2013

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img-balance-vs-imbalance-madison-macarthurIn a previous blog we talked about the notion that people that have more balance in their lives were happier and therefore likely to be more productive in the long run. We talked about how, in a perfect world, you didn’t need to be a slave to work to be successful. But… is that really true?
In saying that we’re assuming that work is not fulfilling and that we need time away to be truly happy. So is it really that work as a whole is not fulfilling, or is it that the specific job that you are in is not challenging and fulfilling you? In my past life in the corporate world I had some jobs that were very demanding and completely drained me. Because I was ambitious, I put in the time, but could not wait for the very long days to end.  I had other jobs that were even more demanding that I absolutely loved. They were all consuming jobs that I lived and breathed 24/7 and I didn’t regret a minute of time spent there.

Having grown up in a working class family that immigrated to Canada from Europe it was drilled into me that you had to earn your stripes and put in the work in order to succeed. I believe that that holds true but wish that I had put in the effort only in jobs that really fulfilled me because it wasn’t about working hard, it was about being in the right job in the right company – then it didn’t seem like work – it was exciting!

If having time away from work is really so important to our overall health and happiness why is it that several studies have shown that people that retire at 65 or earlier suffer more from depression and health issues than those that continue to work. One of the more recent studies can be found here.
Mr. Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College, London suggests that work/life balance is a silly notion and recently caused outrage when publishing his thoughts in a Harvard Business Review blog.
I go back to my question - is it really that work as a whole is not fulfilling, or is it that the specific job that you are in is not challenging and fulfilling you?