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Texans Need To Add Balance To Their Work Lives

Oct 12, 2007
Many individuals who work and live in Austin, Dallas, Houston and elsewhere in Texas, may find that their work lives and personal lives are out of balance, with their stress levels running high. If that's the case with you, it's important to reclaim control of your life.

Finding work/life balance in today's frantically paced world is no simple task. If you spend more time at work than at home, you miss out on a rewarding personal life. Then again, if you're facing challenges in your personal life, such as caring for an aging parent or coping with marital or financial problems, concentrating on your job can be difficult.

Whether the problem is too much focus on work or too little, when your work life and personal life feel out of balance, stress - - and its harmful effects -- is the result.

To take control, first consider how the business world has changed, then reevaluate your relationship with work and apply these strategies for striking a more healthy balance.

There was a time when employees showed up for work Monday through Friday and worked eight to nine hours. The boundaries between work and home were fairly clear then. But the world has changed and, unfortunately, the boundaries have blurred for many workers.

Here are just a few of many examples:

- Global economy. In this global labor market, companies are outsourcing or moving jobs to reduce labor costs. These days, individuals feel pressured to work longer and produce more to protect their jobs.
- International business. The world keeps spinning and that means work continues 24 hours a day for some individuals. If you work at an international corporation, you might be on call 24/7 as troubleshooter or consultant.
- Advanced technology. Individuals currently have the ability to work and/or stay connected to work anywhere, including from home, car and even on vacation. Management may expect this.
- Longer hours. Employees these days are asked to work longer hours than they're scheduled. Overtime can be mandatory. And if you want to move up the career ladder, you may be working more than 40 hours a week to achieve these expectations.
- Changes in families. A married worker today is most probably part of a dual-career couple. This makes it difficult to find time to meet commitments to family and friends.

If you're experiencing any of these types of challenges, you understand how easy it is for work to invade your personal life.

If you're an hourly worker, it's tempting to work overtime because you can earn extra money for a college fund or dream vacation. Some individuals need to work overtime to stay on top of their finances.

If you're a salaried employee, working more hours doesn't provide extra cash, but it may help with your workload. Arriving early and staying late may also help earn a promotion or bonus.

Sometimes working overtime is imperative. This may be due to a new job, new boss, or financial necessities. If you work for a company that requires mandatory overtime, you won't be able to avoid it; perhaps it's time to move on.
About the Author
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com
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