By: Hilary Bowser
It can be extremely difficult to work in the field of law and make time for our family and friends. Many believe that to be successful in our careers we must make sacrifices in our personal life. Is there truly a way to balance work life and the rest of our life?
In the article “The Tyranny of Performance ” by Allison Wolf http://www.slaw.ca/2009/07/11/the-tyranny-of-performance/ , it is outlined that to help improve the balance between work and our family is all about learning. If we are learning new information through all of our daily interactions we can make our work more enjoyable.
I agree that making our work interesting and fresh involves learning all the time. If we keep doing the same boring task over and over it is easy to see why we become unhappy at work. We focus too much on how many hours were working or on how much were making that we allow it to make us unhappy. Shifting our focus to how we do our work and how we are learning can be a valuable tool to help relive stress.
Nicole Garton-Jones’s article “The Myth of Work Life Balance in Law” http://www.slaw.ca/2009/11/10/the-myth-of-work-life-balance-in-law/,outlines how the choices we make influence how we balance our work and personal life.
I think that we need to really think about where we are going to work and how it will influence our home life. Do you want to work at a small firm? a large firm? or for ourselves? how far away from home? These are all important factors in how we balance our lives. If we have a smaller work load and live closer to home, our personal lives would surely be improved. Sometimes we need to make the decision to take a position that pays less or that isn’t as prestigious, for the benefit of our family.
Having a good relationship with your employer can make managing your family life much easier. Julie Stauffer’s article “Successfully Juggling Work and Family: Tips for Lawyers” http://www.cba.org/cba/practicelink/bwl/balance.aspx, outlines how making important arrangements with your employer can help you maintain balance.
I agree with Stauffer that it is very important to make sure that your parental leave is adequate if you need it and that you can be flexible with your work hours. The idea of being able to work from home is very appealing to me, as I’ve seen my own family be able to use these “flex” days to work but not have to spend half of the day travelling downtown.
We all have to make sacrifices sometimes but it is important to remember that we often have the option to make choices that will help us balance our work and personal life, and to be happier.