How important to you is work-life balance? What does work-life balance mean to you? Why do you think our generation (‘Generation Y’) cares so much more about work-life balance than those generations before us?
These are some of the questions I’ve asked myself this year while job searching. Throughout my job search and acceptance process, I put a lot of focus on work-life balance. It wasn’t necessarily that I was looking for a company that had flexible hours or where I could leave right at 5pm every day and never work weekends. Instead, I was more concerned about the types people I would be working with, the volunteering opportunities available, and the outside of work activities that co-workers would partake in (such as intramural sports, happy hours, etc.).
Time Magazine published an article, “What Gen Y Really Wants“:
Now along come the 76 million members of Generation Y. For these new 20-something workers, the line between work and home doesn’t really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are.
USA Today in their article, “Generation Y: They’ve arrived at work with a new attitude,” says:
Unlike boomers who tend to put a high priority on career, today’s youngest workers are more interested in making their jobs accommodate their family and personal lives. They want jobs with flexibility, telecommuting options and the ability to go part time or leave the workforce temporarily when children are in the picture.
So why do we have such a different way of thinking as our elders? Here are some speculations:
- We’ve grown up questioning our parents, and now we’re questioning our employers.
- We are a generation of multi-taskers. We can juggle e-mail on our BlackBerrys while talking on cellphones while trolling online. Because of this, we are constantly looking for change: change in assignments, change in career paths, etc.
- We’ve has been pampered, nurtured and programmed with a slew of activities since we were toddlers, meaning we are both high-performance and high-maintenance.
- Entrepreneurship now functions as a safety net for our generation. We grew up on the Internet, and we know how to launch a viable online business. Facebook, for example, began in a college dorm room.
What about you, do you put a strong emphasis on work-life balance, whether you’re currently job searching or working full time? What does work-life balance mean to you?