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It Takes Work to Have a Life in a 24x7 World

Got work? By G.A. "Andy" Marken
Right at the outset Ill note that it is Saturday and we are in the office writing this piece.  That should give you a clue that I havent achieved what most people might call a healthy work-life balance.  But after more than 25 years in the profession my wife has come to reluctantly accept my work/home habits?to a degree.

To further exacerbate the situation, note that we just returned from a 3-day holiday in Mexico.  On the flight down I remarked to her that it was the first time I had turned my cell phone off since upgrading three months earlier. I was also delighted when I got to the home we had rented to find that the owner really did have DSL connectivity.

While I havent quite mastered the balancing act, it is better.

There are those to disagree but in my estimation the Internet, WiFi and mobile phone technology has helped.  While I dont recommend my solution for everyone, it works for me.

The cold hard fact is that in todays environment, though, there is constant pressure to do more and with fewer people.  Whether it is stated, implied or self-inflicted, people in our industry are continually monitoring and handling queries, issues and challenges not just 2-3 time zones away but half way around the globe.  We have deadlines, demands and issues that are out of our control and have to be addressed?now!

The result is long hours and in many instances missed weekends and missed holidays.

If it is any consolation, I am not alone! 

Shared Issues
After reviewing survey results from Poynter Institute, Gallup and Monster.com, it is obviously becoming an issue that is facing people in every field -- journalists as well as companies, non-profits and government.

The issues that were raised in all of these surveys were remarkably similar:

- most people (over 60 percent) worked more than 40 hours a week
- nearly half passed up their vacation from last year
- approximately 70 percent of the organizations had staff cuts in the last two years
- about half of those surveyed were considering a job/career change

It has been my experience that most of the pressure and stress is self-inflicted. Staff reductions have produced mixed emotions and pressures for people:
- depression because we all know a number of people whose talents were no longer required by the organization
- a combination of relief and guilt that you had escaped unscathed
- a real or implied implication that you were expected to assume more of the workload caused by the workforce reduction

These issues have to be addressed in a healthy, personal manner. 

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Related Keywords:work, balance, Andy Marken, profession, personal life, 24/7, balancing act, life


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