This notion of “Work/Life Balance” has been driving me nuts for awhile. You know why? Because my life includes work.

I like work for the most part. Always have. I’ve been fortunate enough to not only get to do what I love, but more importantly, I have been fortunate enough to figure out that sometimes I just need to love what I do.

I believe in balance and use various approaches to ensure I make time for all my priorities & responsibilities as best I can. So, don’t think this is a rant for the pro-workaholics out there.

Is it just me that this phrase rubs the wrong way?

The corporate world uses this phrase ubiqoutously to help people grasp the notion of balance in a positive manner, so the intent is good (for the most part).

But, the opposite of “Life” is “Death”, not “Work.” Death is not a positive metaphor for your workplace. If you wanna make sure your staff think of “Work” in negative terms, you’re on the right track by using the phrase “Work/Life Balance”.

The Opposite of “Life” is “Death,” not “Work”

According to Wikipedia: Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle (healthpleasureleisurefamily and spiritual development/meditation).” 

The Wikipedia definition falls flat because, again, this assumes that “Work” cannot include pleasure, health or ambition related to leisure or family. If you want to get at the heart of it, maybe the statement should be “Cash/Non-Cash Balance.”

No matter how you want to define it, Work and Life are not mutually exclusive.

I think the phrase also implies that things related to work are hard. To balance it and experience release, you need the easy leisure / life time. Ha! Sometimes it’s totally the other way around! (just ask my buddy who got back from a Disney vacation with his 3 daughters)

Does Life begin at 5 pm? Nah? Does Work end at 5 pm? Nah. In my Dad’s generation that may have been true … but not for the fluidity and global nature of today’s business world.

Why do these things have to be at odds with each other, anyway? Don’t we yearn for a balanced life that includes work, clients, family, friends, interests and constant learning? Isn’t that where we find true happiness?

So, let’s rethink it.

How about just simply “Life Balance”?