Everyone claims that the tradition workplace has gone out the window. In many ways it has. Industrialisation is dead. We aren’t training as factory workers anymore, we are all establishing our place within the Information Age and the workplace is changing as a result.
With most people living a “liquid life” it is becoming increasingly common and therefore acceptable for work to spill over into home and social life. The lines are becoming less distinct. Technology is aiding this increasing inequality in work/life balance by providing the ability for people to be constantly reachable, and for work to be mobile and wireless.
However, rather than allow social expectation to become more stringently ingrained in our society I think we need to develop set boundaries which clearly dictate what is and isn’t workplace and work time. I don’t want to enter a work force which I can’t leave until I retire. I value my free time to much.
Both my parents work(ed) in academic positions and it takes a conscious effort for them to maintain that clear divide between their lives. But they do. They turn their mobiles off at night and rarely check their work emails.
5 years ago my father noticed that he wasn’t effectively maintaining it anymore. He found that he was under increasing pressure from his position and that the increase in work load was making him increasingly stressed. We noticed it in him too. He would pick us up from school and we wouldn’t see him again until dinner. Rather than struggling through a “liquid life” he quit his position at the University and took over running our family business.
I guess my mantra comes from that bold, brave move. I think that living life is more effective than struggling through. If you are easily managing your “liquid life”, and if you are equipped to handle the pressure and conflicts of a “presence bleed”, then that is your decision to make. However, I think the expectation to have one is an unethical expectation arising from today’s changing workplace.