Finally, the truth about work-life balance!

Do you strive for work-life balance?

The truth is, there is nothing like that. According to  Jim Ward, CEO of the Phoenix Symphony “There is no work-life balance…career comes first in your priority and don’t expect family to come first.” Ward’s piece of advice went  to a group of fledgling millennials thinking about yoga, children, movies, hitting the bar and hiking after an eight-hour work schedule.

At last,  it was great to hear some truth about the mythical work-life balance from top business and non-profit leaders in Arizona. Here are some things I collectively learned from Ward, Merl Waschler, CEO of the Valley of the Sun United Way, Mike Nealy, CEO of the Phoenix Coyotes and Mary Maruscelli, President, JP Morgan Chase, Arizona. They were speaking at an event organized jointly by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce at SkySong on February 22.

  • Commit 200% to your job
  • Pick a job you are passionate about
  • Treat everyone with dignity- you never know who will help you the most
  • Community involvement is critical
  • Try to decide earlier on what you really want to do
  • Write down your goals both short and long-term 
  • Stay focused
  • Get outside your comfort zone and look at the hard spots
  • Do not get complacent- take advantage of change in your organization
  • Learn from bad decisions
  • Look for people who can move your career forward
  • Learn new things every day
  • Being scared at the helm will motivate you 
  • Set one goal you want to achieve at a job- If you can’t find anything else interesting, it’s time to move on
  • Always look for things nobody else wants to do
  • Be open-minded and honest- look for context in your decisions and arguments
  • Integrity is key
  • An overworked employee is a frustrated employee who is working against a goal that cannot be achieved
  • If you are excited and passionate about your job, you will get some balance
  • Over-communicate- always. It helps.
  • Last but most important- find time to work out

Keep chronic workaholics at bay: Ten tips for 2012

Chronic workaholics have become part of my life. Some influence  me and several are in constant recovery mode. One just started living on a boathouse hoping that the sound of ripples will ease the impact of work-related stress.

In 2012, I want all my friends to stay away from work-related stress. Our collective workaholism will have no impact on  our already stressed, chronically exploited, seven billion plus Planet Earth. So, here are 10 tips to maintain a safe distance from friends, co-workers, bosses, family members, insane relatives and employers who want to make you do more at any cost.

  1. Learn to say the 2-letter word we seldom say: NO. To your manager, to your nagging friend, to your employer for demands that extend beyond your work day.
  2. Consider work as an eight-hour fun ride. Plan well, be shrewd and look for stars beyond sunset and not project deadlines.
  3. Outdo your employer’s expectations every day.  Be creative and you can get it done.
  4. Network. Find friends outside your profession and learn new things after work. Develop a business plan for a new venture that you like and always have a Plan B and a solid exit strategy.
  5. Join an association that has ties to your profession or volunteer at a civic group. Make sure it’s interesting and fun to do.
  6. Check if the sky is still blue- at least once a day. This will remind you that there are better things in life than work, bosses, co-workers, projects, deadlines, social media sites and electronic gadgets. Make sure you exercise and  just 30 minutes is fine.
  7. Find “me time” at least once a week. This will get you a greater return than your paycheck in the long run.
  8. Wind down on Fridays. This is a must-do and  make it a point to have fun.
  9. “Be present,” with your family once you are at home. Don’t think of that last freaking email from your co-worker at 5 p.m. when your kid needs your attention. The rest can wait.
  10. Don’t waste money on self-help books. Learn to say NO and the world will take care of itself.