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The Choice Of Work-Life Balance

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The other day, a partner of one of the top 3 consulting firms (in the world) visited a campus for student interaction. One question naturally was “How’s work-life balance at your firm?”. To this, the lady replied:

Consulting is a demanding job, opt for it only if you’re willing to travel constantly. And being one of the best firms in the world, our schedules are quite hectic.

That being said, balancing work and life is a choice you have to make-once I had to decide between an important stakeholder meet and a dance performance by my daughter. I knew my priority-my daughter rocked the show. Did it impact my career? Of course not. Because, in reversal, there have been times where I prioritized work over family trips. So it all comes down to prioritization at each point in life.

Secondly, as partners, we are assigned annual sales targets to achieve and, post each project, we are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “you’re God-level”, 5 being “tata bye-bye”.

I’ve seen people exceeding sales target by miles ahead and there are people working like anything to achieve a 1-rating every time. I follow a simple logic:

I never target 1. 2 is the best I aspire to achieve in each project and 3 is also acceptable for me.

I never target 100% of the set quota. Achieving 80% and the ensuing performance rating works for me.

The reason these set of expectations help me retain a calmer lifestyle with better work-life balance which trumps a greater salary or a promotion any day in my life.

And lastly, my firm has a policy through which it’s employees can take 1 month of unpaid leaves, no questions asked. But I’ve, maybe, come across only 1 or 2 colleagues in my office who utilize this perk. Rest are too focused on overperforming and FOMO. But this is not the scenario is some of my foreign colleagues who do 1–2 projects, go on a 1-month leave, come back refreshed and enjoy a balanced life style. And despite such perks and benefits, people in my firm still complain about work-life balance.

So what I want to drive across is that, work-life balance, more than a metric to be measured by the hour, is a game of choice and prioritization at each stage of your life, no matter the circumstances you are in.

This message is a beautiful depiction of what work-life balance really is all about.

Work-life balance is similar to happiness-ever elusive if associated with something but ever achievable if chosen and prioritized regardless of anything else.

See you tomorrow !!!

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