Do you have work-life balance in your non-profit job?

As many of you know, I am currently working out-of-state and living at my mother-in-law’s house in the DFW metroplex. I woke up this morning and my generous house host engaged me in a spirited discussion about the idea of work-life balance. I am not a dummy, and I presume my mother-in-law is telling me that she doesn’t think I’ve struck the right balance. Of course, all of this got me thinking about the idea of work-life balance and the non-profit sector.

My mother-in-law’s point of view

scales of justiceWork-Life balance is about dividing your time between work and life. Work stays there and your life is over here. The idea of balance looks like the scales of justice, and the two sides (representing work and life) are in perfect balance.

Her thinking is that those individuals who work 60, 70 and 80 hours a week cannot achieve work-life balance. Furthermore, she thinks those people are selfish because if work is that important to someone then they are cheating their spouses, families, and pets.

After digesting my mother-in-laws strong point of view, I think this is a very popular position. I think lots of people view work-life balance through this lens.

My point of view

self fulfillmentI used to look at work-life balance through the same lens as my mother-in-law, but a friend of mine helped me change the way I look at these competing Ā things in my life.

I don’t believe in the scales of justice analogy anymore. I now believe that the scales can be imbalanced, and the question is all focused on whether or not you’re happy and feel fulfilled.

Selfish? Perhaps! But it is where I am at right now.

The non-profit sector

stressed out workerAs I stewed about this morning’s conversation with my mother-in-law, I started thinking about all of my non-profit friends. I couldn’t think of anyone with perfectly balanced scales, but I could think of lots of non-profit friends who appear happy and fulfilled.

I also started thinking about the reality of non-profit work:

  • Under-funded agencies
  • Under-staffed workplaces
  • Long hours
  • Hard work

So, I decided to write this morning’s blog and seek your opinion about what work-life balance means to you AND how you achieve what you consider balance.

A few interesting articles

So, what do you think? Please use the comment box below to weigh-in with your thoughts and experiences regarding work-life balance and the non-profit work experience.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on February 13, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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