There is an old saying – do you live to work or work to live? This was flung to the front of my mind with a recent article in the Daily Mail where ex “The Apprentice” contestant Katie Hopkins gave over her views on raising her children. If you don’t want to read the article, I feel that this quote sums it up –
‘’I’ve rarely been to a sports day, carol concert or any of the other ‘can’t miss’ events that seem to make up most mothers’ social calendars. Instead, I pay for a replacement to attend, a ‘stand-in’ mummy if you will. I rejoice that I am able to employ an army of staff — ten members and counting — to do all the boring, mundane chores that I’m too busy for.’’
I don’t want to get into a discussion around whether Katie is progressive or odious – I will leave you to make up your minds. What this article demonstrates is that everyone views work differently. I personally want to make as much time as possible for my friends and family – they are important to me and will always come first. That doesn’t mean that I never work late, refuse to work evenings and weekends or never attend conferences. In fact it is almost the exact opposite. I work hard because I want the best for them. I stay late because I want to progress and I do more than is expected because I am then afforded the flexibility to take out extra time when they need me. Some people arrive at 9.00 and leave at 17.00 and take their hour lunch break, and some work environments allow for this difference in approaches.
When making a decision about where you want to work, you may want to think about the culture of the company that you are applying to. We are moving away from people working specific hours to a culture of work-life integration. We are seeing employers providing staff with technology that enables them to be available 24/7 and work remotely, in return for a much more flexible working day. This may appeal to many of us, but if this is a path you choose, you must consider the wider impact on your life. Think about what is important to you, draw your line in the sand and be firm in what you will and wont do.