Work-Life Balance, Be Gone!

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Just this afternoon, Danielle and I were discussing the short transition from Thanksgiving break to finals week. We pitied Elon students for not being able to fully enjoy their holiday break knowing that the semester would end shortly after returning. How awful that they were probably with family, still thinking about schoolwork! Then we realized that this is what our generation does every day. For the most part, we never stop thinking about what needs to be done (personal or professional) because we are always “plugged in”.

As natives of the Information Age, the millennial generation is always connected: to our smart phones, tablets, laptops, and social networks.  Because of the constant connection to our personal lives, many students and young professionals thrive on fluidity. There is a new, innate need to be able to freely drift between text messages to friends and emails to instructors or supervisors. This no longer represents an out of whack work-life balance; it is the new normal.

The newest wave of professionals are no longer bogged down by answering emails after 5 p.m., it’s more draining for them to be forced to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. This generational shift is no cause for panic; it is simply a change in work styles and the concept of balance. And since the use of technology has extended the average workday, it is no longer feasible to judge productivity by the number of hours spent in the office or classroom.

Sheryl Sandberg in her book, “Lean In” says that “framing the issue as ‘work-life balance’ – as if the two were diametrically opposed – practically ensures work will lose out” because, “who would ever choose work over life?” And one Forbes contributor suggests that we move from work-life balance to work life energy by “thinking about ways we can be fully energized and creative for all of our life.” This means posing one very important question to every college student and new professional before they settle into any new role:

What does work look like for you?

(More from “Forget Work Life Balance – 7 Paradigm Shifts for the New 24/7 Normal” here. )

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Author: raynaanderson2

Career Advising Fellow, 2013-2014 Elon University, Student Professional Development Center Rayna's graduate degree in Higher Education & Student Affairs (HESA) and past graduate assistantship experience has prepared her for her current role in university Career Services. While her primary objective is to provide career development advice to students, Rayna is trained to also assist the general public with career & educational planning. Rayna strongly encourages the integration of the personal & professional selves, through extensive reflection and exploration. She believes that this integration can have very positive effects and she enjoys assisting others in developing the habits necessary to attain their desired personal, career and educational goals. Rayna's work is guided by her desire to equip and empower others with the skills needed to not only survive their college days, but to thrive in the days to come. Areas of Interest: General Career Development & Educational Planning Motivational Goal Setting Sustaining Work/Life Balance Career Services in Higher Education Positive Psychology in Career Development College & Career Planning for Marginalized Populations Diversity & Social Justice Education & Training Bachelor of Science- Health Studies, University of Louisiana at Monroe – 2010 Master of Arts- Education, Louisiana State University – 2013 Certified Professional Career Coach, PARW/CC – 2013

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