Establishing a quality work / life balance is something we’re all after and something many companies promise. But, do all companies deliver on this promise? Is it really the responsibility of the company to deliver on this promise? Or is it really up to the individual? Or both?
Balance Takes Effort
Balance isn’t something you’re given or even something you’re entitled to. True balance is something you have to be very intentional about and actively manage. It never just happens. Achieving balance is all about making conscious decisions about how you spend your time. With honest, open, frequent communication I can thrill my clients with exceptional service while meeting my obligations to the charity I volunteer for and I can take time for my family.
Balance isn’t about being equally divided among tasks; it requires me to think big-picture. Work demands ebb and flow and life sometimes throws you a curve ball. This became quite evident to me last fall when a serious illness landed my wife in the ICU with an abdominal infection. Having wisely managed my accrued time off, I was able to take the time I needed to be with her and help her heal. Sure, I’ve taken plenty of vacation over the years. I’ve done scout campouts, graduations, birthday parties, and cheered my kids on in sports, but along the way I’ve kept a watchful eye on how I was using my resources.
I’m happy to report that my wife’s team of specialists released her from their care earlier this summer and we’ve settled back into a normal routine. In hindsight, I can see that I had been managing the balance my whole career but our compensation model and collaborative nature allowed me to weather the storm better than I could have at any other place I have worked.
A Place for Adults
Dan Pierce, our founder, has been known to say that SEI is a place for adults. SEI is filled with talented, motivated professionals who take the time to properly manage the balance between work and personal responsibilities in their life. There have been times over the years where I have had to back off my participation in an internal initiative. Other times I’ve jumped headlong into something that fits with my passion. In all cases, the privilege and the responsibility of making a choice lie with me.
Being surrounded by high quality people with such a strong sense of camaraderie is a true blessing. During our medical emergency, I found myself on the receiving end of an overwhelming level of support: home-cooked meals, prayers and well wishes, and even offers of help with yard work and Christmas decorations! On the work side, fellow SEIers at my client worked with my team to redistribute the work and also kept client management in the loop so I was able to gradually transition back into my assignment once the worst had passed.
A Great Place to Work and Play
Do you take maintaining work/life balance seriously? When I left a full time position for consulting 8 years ago, the thing I wanted most was to be surrounded by like-minded professionals, people who took responsibility for all aspects of their career. I’m happy to report I’ve found such a place with SEI.