July 16, 2008
Is work/life balance dead, or is it just being redefined by technology?
Penelope Trunk, who writes the blog Brazen Careerist, says work/life balance is an outmoded ideal. On BusinessWeek's Balance blog last month she wrote that using technology to blend work and life is far more realistic than trying to compartmentalize each.
In many ways, I agree. Despite what I said last month about not taking work on vacations, I wrote this very post from a cabin on the Oregon coast, where I'm currently on -- drumroll! --vacation.
Because I'm a freelancer, I've learned to live with work and life bleeding all over each other. And for this trip, rather than work myself silly pre- and post-cabin so I could completely pull the plug on work for a week, I chose to bring a smidge of work with me, to chip away at here there, between naps and cocktails and walks on the beach. I'm still 100 times more relaxed and well-rested than I was before I left Seattle, and knowing that I won't be coming back to a truckload of extra work is also making me very, very happy.
But it's not just me. I'm here with my beau, who's accompanied me to the Internet cafe 10 minutes down the road a couple times so he could check his work email and make sure things were running smoothly back at the ranch. And a few other patrons at our coastal coffee haunt have told us they've been doing the same.
I'm curious what readers of this blog think: Would you rather completely unplug from work for the duration of your vacation and not worry about the messes and deadlines that may await you upon your return? If so, are you actually capable of doing this? Or do you like to sneak an online peek here and there while out of town? Does doing so make your return to work post-vacation any easier or less stressful?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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