Do you ask yourself: ‘Where’s MY time in all this craziness? What about ME?’
My thoughts ran like this, and I felt trapped. Then one evening, glass of Malbec in hand, my best friend Sarah said, “perhaps you’re over-thinking it. Why don’t you just ask him?” Her comment jolted me. In that moment, I realised I must act. No one was going to do it for me. So on Monday, I did. I asked if I could work four days a week.
He asked just one question: “What will happen if you have an urgent deadline and it’s your non-working day the next day?” “I’ll work late, or work my non-working day and take the day in lieu. I don’t expect anyone else to do it”, I said.
He said he’d talk to HR. That he thought it’d be okay. Within nine days, I had my first day off. I spent it making a cream, checked, fabric box. It was 2004. I was an international tax manager in a FTSE 50 company with no flexible working policy. But I’d got the work life balance I wanted.
Work-life balance - let’s examine the phrase for a moment. I don’t like it. It implies something is either work or not-work; that we have binary choices; that there’s an ideal balance to be strived for. What matters to you, I imagine, is having enough time for what you enjoy. Feeling happy. I prefer the phrase ‘work-life blend’.