…..there is really no such thing.
Maybe I should begin by asking, what do you do for a living? I don’t mean the actual job. I mean what contribution do you make to society? How does what you do keep our collective existence going and sustain life on the Planet? If what you do has no answer to these questions, then probably this piece is not for you.
But if somehow, you are one of those that are helping to build a life economy (as John Perkins will put it) for all of us, then read on.
The thing is, the position in many quarters about work and life being a binary idea is false. And in truth, there is really no demilitarized zone in between. They are supposed to be inseparable compartments of our lives. Whatever is it that you do for a life or living is supposed to be so ingrained that there is no way to distinguish it from you. It should be what you breath. It’s not a 9/5 thing. But what you do Monday to Friday….and continue on Saturday and Sunday. Like the term, ‘lifetime’, ‘lifework’ is the right term we should be using. You cannot separate the both areas.
Now, if the statistics that says that on the average, people spend more than half of their day (or almost all) at work is true. And that a huge percentage of people die (mostly men) a few years after retirement is true, then as a society, we better start placing some more importance on getting it right on this front.
The truth is, work is the way to make a life….that’s why we use the expression, ‘making a living’. So when you say you are making a living by doing X & Y, better understand what you are saying…it’s not a cliché. Far from it. The capital question you should ponder about is, are you truly making a living or you are merely making money. And to be merely making money with no tangible contribution is an abuse on your potential and on your human spirit…..you can’t just be making money alone. That cannot be an end in itself….maybe an experience on the journey but it cannot be the goal. Life is supposed to be one happy adventurous journey where we cannot wait for the breaking of every new day to continue the meaningful work we have individually being called to.
In conclusion, to be working is to be solving humanity’s problems — a person and a place at a time. It is to be playing your part to keep our world going.
For people who use the term, work-life balance, maybe job life balance is what they wanted to say, if they are not sure what term to use.
Here’s an aside: maybe it will also help if you knew the history of how the idea of ‘going to work’ started: “the reason people go to a building to go to work is that steam or water power used to turn giant winch-like structure that went right through the factory building. Every workman used that power to do his work. As factories got more sophisticated, it remained efficient to move workers (from one building to another), not the stuff” (Culled from Watcha gonna do with that duck? by Seth Godin).
From the beginning of time…and in the original plan, there was no such thing. Work is not a place you go but what you do. Or what you are becoming as you commit to honing your skill and reveal your innate potentials to the world. That’s how it is.