Why Work-life Balance Is Bullshit

Work-life Balance is the notion of balancing your career with your lifestyle. So it goes, if an employer provides flexible working arrangements, additional holiday leave, work from home etc irrespective of your job – you will have a great work-life balance. It’s common to hear – “Work to live, not the other way around!”

Work and Life are inseparable
Work and Life are inseparable

Every day you spend at work is one day spent of your life. There is no separation between work and your life. Heck, if you work a typical 5 day/40 hours a week at a job, including the commute – that’s 25% of your total time. Add in sleep and you’re left with around 6 hours in the day to enjoy your ‘life’.

I don’t say this to be negative – I say this because you need to start appreciating that your job takes up a huge majority of your time, and consequently, your life. It doesn’t matter how flexible your working arrangements are, if you lack purpose at your job, you won’t be satisfied in life. Existential crisis in T minus 10, 9 ,8, 7…..

I LOVE Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (below). In my opinion, it’s most critical framework to understanding human nature and is applicable to a wide range of scenarios.

The Answers To All Life’s Problems

Let’s take a look at how it might relate to debunking work-life balance as a concept. Say you earn enough money at work to survive and provide for your family (bottom row covered). However, your goals and milestones within the company are unclear and management fail to acknowledge your efforts. Furthermore you find the day-to-day work repetitive and lacking meaning/significance to you (top two rows unfulfilled).

This will inevitably have an insidious effect on your personal-life and lifestyle. Whether we like it or not, it is impossible NOT to take work ‘home’.

NB – Self-actualization is a fancy word which means being yourself and living to your potential. 

Now you’re probably thinking “Shit, is he going to on about doing what you love and working the four-hour work week”. HELL NO. Those statements piss me off just as much! Don’t simply ‘do what you love’ – this is inherently a selfish/arrogant mindset that ignores the fundamental business concept of providing value to the marketplace.

Instead, what am I want you to focus on is BEING RUTHLESS in your pursuit to find meaningful work that solves a problem in the market.

I’ve got high emotional-intelligence (EQ) and have always had a passion for tech and marketing. I saw where the world was/is heading with mobile – so I naturally gravitated toward Topme. I’ve found immense purpose/belonging in my role and really feel my work and the business is making a ‘dent’ in the universe. Because of this, the flow-on effect has been MUCH more enthusiasm in other areas of my life – even though I’m working more hours – go figure, right?

So it’s important you understand what is in your DNA and how you operate and fully exploit your strengths:

  • High emotional-intelligence/great people skills?
  • Or are you more analytically-inclined and data-driven?
  • In school, were you a bit of a misfit/thinker outside-the-box?

All these characteristics should give you hints as to what value you can provide certain businesses/markets and ultimately get satisfaction from working. Who knows – you might even begin enjoying life more outside of work.


Author: Allan Manuel

Allan is a Digital Marketing Consultant who specialises in startups. Get in touch with Allan here.

3 thoughts on “Why Work-life Balance Is Bullshit”

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