Letter from the President - May 2017

We’ve been talking a lot at my office lately about work-life balance. I’m always happy to have those conversations, because it means our firm cares about its employees’ well-being.

But what does it mean today to balance work and life? It used to be that you could identify the workaholics by the number of hours they spent at their desks. Now, thanks to improvements in telecommuting technologies, the boundaries between “office” and “home” can blur.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not arguing against the use of laptops, cell phones, and VPN. I use all three all the time. Mostly from the office, true, but there have been many times
when I’ve been grateful for the ability to stay connected on the go.

The fuzziness of the “work space” means that we have to be extra careful about letting work seep into all areas of our lives. And it gets even more complex when you consider people who are passionate about their careers. I bet most of you are reading this letter in your spare time. You care enough about your work to keep up with industry news and with your professional community, even if you’re not technically getting paid for your time.

Does that mean you have no work-life balance? No! The “life” side of the equation should include things that interest you, that capture your imagination, that entertain and inspire you. For some of us, that list includes our chosen profession.

For others, “work” is just that—something that you do to pay your bills and fund your other interests. I hope you find some reward in your job, or it makes it hard to get through the day. But there’s also nothing wrong with leaving work at the office and concentrating your energies on other pursuits. These “hobbies” may not be profitable from a monetary perspective, but they enrich our lives in other ways.

In the end, it’s up to each of us to find our own balance. What works for me may not be right for you, and vice versa. And as much as we can, we should suspend our judgment when observing other people’s (apparent) work-life balance. For one thing, we may not have their whole story. (Maybe he puts in an extra two hours every night after the kids go to bed. Maybe she commutes by train, and has figured out how to be productive while she rides.) And really, unless someone’s lack of actual productivity is affecting us or our team, it’s probably none of our business, right?

I know nothing in here is exactly revolutionary. You’ve probably heard (or thought) it before. But it’s always good to take a step back and make sure that your life is balanced
the way you want it.

May is usually a beautiful month, no matter where you live. My advice is to use some of that lovely weather to balance out the fluorescent light. Step outside for a bit, enjoy some sunshine, and come back to work refreshed.

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