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Work Life Balance - How Do You Rank at Home

By Ralph Laurel

Dec 21, 2015
 

In a competitive work environment many of us strive to achieve high performance rankings for our annual review. But to flip the question around, where would you rank if you got an evaluation at home?                     

 
 

This could be an uneasy question for some.


As engineers, we pride ourselves on being high achievers. From grade school to middle school we were measured by our grades and got mostly A’s. In high school and college the measurement became even more precise with GPAs. Most of us excelled and graduated at or near the top of our classes.

 

And now, in our professional life, how do we measure success? For many of us who work for companies with forced ranking systems our goal becomes to rank in the top third or the top ten percentile. Or we try to measure success based on salary or the level of position we hold. But very few would say that your job is the most important aspect of your life.

 

So why do we spend so much time worrying about how we’re performing at work instead of at home? Because we’re competitive by nature and want to be near the top in anything gets measured… and there are no measurements at home.

 

As engineers we’re driven by data so it’s natural to be motivated to achieve high performance at work when we receive continuous feedback and exact details on where we are relative to others. With the lack of performance indicators at home, sometimes we can lose that drive for continuous improvement.


Just because there is no precise measurement of how we’re performing at home, many can become complacent and settle for just being average… even though most of the same people wouldn’t settle for being average at work.

 

So how would your evaluation go at home? Think carefully about where you’d rank as a husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister. Are you still a top third performer?


Be honest. Are you there for every little league game or dance recital that your kids have? Do you spend time with your wife or husband showing them how much you appreciate them? Do you have time to volunteer in your community and support your neighbors?

 

Are you building and maintaining solid relationships with your family and friends? You probably spend a few hours each night with your family, maybe focus a little more attention on weekends. But so does everyone else… congratulations, you’re in the middle third.


Maybe you’re not even that lucky. You travel most of the time for work, don’t get to make it to the many of the important personal events. You come home exhausted each day after working twelve hours and don’t have much time or energy to spend with your family. Now you’re in the bottom third.

 

If you’re a top third performer at work but a bottom third at home, is that what you want in your life?


For some that may be ok, but for most others that’s probably not the goal you set out with when you graduated college and started your first job. And it may be time to shift that work life balance… and focus on an area that doesn’t give a ranking each year.

 

Many years from now, when you look back at your life, will you be more proud that you were a top performer at work or a top performer at home? Set your priorities accordingly.

 
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