Work-life balance rides the see-saw

No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. Sigmund Freud

It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement – that they seek power, success, wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life. Sigmund Freud

Leon Gettler discusses FREUD’S seemingly contradictory observations, made nearly 80 years ago, sum up the dilemma around work-life balance and show why the problem has never changed, and is unlikely to.

On one hand, Freud seemed to say work was life and vice versa. On the other, he cautioned that people get trapped in its importance, missing the intersection of work, family and society and leaving us with the same age-old questions.
How much money do you need?
How much time do you want to spend with your family?
How much time for yourself?
How much stuff is enough?

So, what’s changed?

The end of the nine-to-five working day and the number of women pouring into the workforce – among Australian women in their 20s, the workforce participation rate rose from 57 per cent to 75 per cent between 1976 and 2001 while the rate for men in that age group slipped – are two of the forces that have transformed work.

There are now more choices in work and life, and they are coming from many more directions.

Globalisation and technology have created the syndrome of 24/7 availability, culminating in what a recent study by the New York-based Centre for Work-Life Policy described as “four in a bed relationships” – two people, two BlackBerrys. One could only wonder what Freud would have said about that!

These changes have profound implications for lifestyles and relationships, and product and service offerings.
Read on to find out why….

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