Every now and then I will be interviewing a young prospective employee, and when I ask what is really important to them, they reply “I want to be really successful, but I also want work life balance”.
“I don’t want my entire life to be defined by what I do”, they often comment. “It’s important that I spend time with my family…. doing the things outside of work will fulfill me”.
“Mmmm, yes”, I smile. “Work life balance. I’ve heard of that. But boy did you apply for the wrong job”.
Certainly I don’t discount the importance of a life outside of your job. And there are many professions that offer a balanced existance. But if I query my friends and business associates that have had really successful careers, the will almost without exception say that the concept of work life balance did not occur to them for at least the first twenty years of their work life. I’ve been working hard for the last thirty years, and am now just seriously considering the concept.
There are no free rides to success. There is a direct correlation between how hard you work and how successful you become. That’s why it is so important to find work you love, as unfortunately successful people tend to spend more time working than with the people they love. A career is often like a savings account. If you put maximum effort into the crucial first part of your career, you are often lucky enough at the end to actually enjoy some work life balance.