Work-Life Balance

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(Reflective journal)|
After graduated from Hanoi National University ( one of the biggest university in Vietnam), two months later, I was hired by a telecom company. At that time, there were already 3 telecom companies in the market and our company EVN was a new entrant. As a new competitor in the market, we must struggle very hardly with other competitors to gain the market share and in order to achieve the profit goals. A majority of employees in the company usually worked overtime. I worked 12 to 14 hours per day and usually gone to the company on weekend. Heavy work load had turned my personal characteristic. I got irritated with my parent whenever they asked me why I often worked late and why I was staying too much in the company instead of spending time with family and friends. I ignored their complaint and continued to work hard. When the Head of my department was tranfered to another department, I was seen as a successor. However, my manager took a person from outside to this position and the reasons were that I was the yougest in the department and I haven’t got married. I was really shock by knowing that my manager not only has evaluated my performance but also has observed my life outside working. At that time, I haven’t yet known something called work- life balance. Epicurus, in the third century BC, wrote “ A balanced life is the solution to the search for happiness”. So, what is the meaning of “ work- life balance” ?

I went to library, picked up some books and tried to find out the definition of work- life balance. However, there are not an unique definition for work- life balance. I was quite surprised that work- life balance is understood in many ways. For some people, work- life balance means an equal balance every day. This is a very ideal equality. This is related to the choices we make between the time we spend at paid work and unpaid work ( work at home, with family) and the time for ourselves such as recreation. Greenhaus, Collins ans Shaw (2003) suggest that balance should be considered from three perspectives: * Time balance: how time is divided between the roles we play at work, at home, with family and friends, in the community, in our religious or spiritual affiliation * Involvement balance: how our psychological involvement is invested in these roles * Satisfaction balance: how much satisfaction we gain from the roles For others, especially workaholics, they tend to find balance at the work place. For them, work and pleasure should go together and should not distinguish one from other. Therefore, the sense of balance is reached when they find the meaning and purpose of what they are doing. “ You should love your work with the same passion as you love life”.( Passion at work- Lawler Kang, Mark Albion) Most companies view work and personal life as competing priorities in a zero- sum game, in which a gain in one area means a loss in the other. “The sense of balance, hence, based on either- or, win-lose type of scenario” (Neal E. Chalofsky). People in this situation accept, in some extent, the expenses they must pay in order to gain the other things. Work and personal life are two parts of a person’s life. “Balance is not about work opposed to the rest of your life, but about accepting all the parts of life” (Neal E. Chalofsky). Therefore, balance is a sense of completion on life. It depends on the way we make choices and manage the tensions between work and life. We should not let one area like work dominate so much that we forget or underestimate the value of other areas such as self care, community activities, family relationship, friends, spiritual and religious concerns. “All work no play is...
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