There is no work-life balance

LiNE Zine has an interview with Lotte Bailyn of MIT, who is:

…working with organizations of various kinds to look at the way they do their work. We look at things like their work practices, their work structure, the cultural assumptions surrounding who’s a good worker, and how they evaluate performance. With them we work to rethink those aspects in such a way that employees are able to live up to their highest potential in their work, and are also able to integrate their work with their personal lives. That is what we call the dual agenda.

That’s interesting work, and one of the most interesting things is that they specifically DO NOT talk about work-life balance, a term I find misleading.

We specifically do not use the term “balance” because it connotes that these two domains in people’s lives have to be equal; that it’s a balance scale – hence if one goes up, the other goes down. The underlying premise of our work is that this need not necessarily be so. We talk about “the integration of work and personal life” to show that work is also part of life. The term “work-life” implies that somehow the two are different, and of course they are not. Work is obviously an important part of life but shouldn’t be the only part.

That’s a very good point. Actually, I’d take it one step further. Looking at my own life, I certainly don’t see a work life and a private life. I just see one life, mine, being expressed in different aspects. And these aspects are so mixed and so mutually dependent, that it makes no sense to attempt to separate them. They are already as integrated as they can be, and there seems to be no time where I am 100% at work or 100% off work. I’m always just me, living my life. And it feels good.

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