August 21, 2008
The secret to balance: Underspend, underachieve, and drop out?
BusinessWeek recently published an interesting piece about the steps some white-collar readers of the magazine have taken to keep their work out of their personal lives and lead a supposedly more balanced existence. Or as BW put it:
"These are the people of the tidy desks and tidy homes. The work-life super class. They don't skulk in late like the rest of us. They don't wear rumpled clothes, miss deadlines, or weaken before the vending machine. Are these people for real?"
Apparently, they are. Their top tricks for leading a less harried, more manageable existence:
1. Save enough money so you can quit your mind-numbingly stressful, demanding job and start your own consulting business.
2. Be an underachiever. A prestigious title/employer means diddly if you don't have the time to celebrate your "success" with the people you care about most in life. If that 70-hour-a-week job is killing you, downgrade to a less demanding, potentially less glamorous one.
3. Learn to live on less dough. Don't fall into "the more I make, the more I can spend" trap. Instead, save some of that windfall so you can work on suggestion #1 or perhaps downshift to suggestion #2.
Of course, those just starting their career probably won't have the opportunity to save a bundle of cash or tell the executive they're playing assistant to where they can kiss it when said exec insists they work 12-hour days if they want to "get somewhere in this business." They may have to stick out a couple years of dues-paying until they can afford to put their personal life first.
Still, it's nice to see others coming clean in BW about thumbing their nose at the system. If you, too, have a story about trading in your stressful job for one that lets you live a more balanced life, do tell.
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.
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."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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