Grew Corporate

We as a society talk about “having it all” all the time. But what does that even mean? A career? Friends? Family? Time to pursue “outside” interests once your responsibilities are met? I’ve seen people at every company I’ve ever worked at or with struggle with the topic of work-life balance, for example. I’ve been one of them myself. All of these organizations have employees—in some cases, tens of thousands of employees—who seem to think there’s a secret formula to working eighty hours a week and raising a family and having hobbies and doing enough for others and . . . if they could just figure out the secret to having it all, they’d be masters of the universe, able to do it all flawlessly. I’ve seen myself and many of my peers struggle when we think that we’re failing ourselves, our companies, or the people who matter most to us when we aren’t able to juggle the bazillion demands that modern life can place on us. And, of course, I’ve seen the massive amount of self-induced pity that can come from the constant comparison of the realities of your life to what are oftentimes the highlight reels of their own lives that others share on social media. None of this leads to a good place if the outcome you desire most is to be happy and fulfilled. Happiness and fulfillment, in my experience, are more closely associated not with having it “all” but with knowing what you truly value, knowing what you truly do not value, and then prioritizing accordingly. Lots of people make their first year at a new job a huge priority, oftentimes making personal interests, family, and friends a lower priority until they feel established and confident in their work. Sadly, most of us don’t talk about this type of prioritization with the people who are affected by these choices, so our relationships unnecessarily suffer as a result. Imagine how much easier it would be for you (in the form of less guilt and angst) and the people you love (in the form of feeling less undervalued) if, instead of just hoping for them to figure out on their own that your work is taking a temporary front seat, you actually said, “Hey, you are incredibly important to me, but this new job means so much to my career and to me. In the short-term I’m probably going to prioritize work over my personal life and people like you, but know that I value you, too, and I hope you’ll give me the feedback if I make work too big of a priority.”

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