Balancing Your Career, Family and Life (Daily Telegraph by Cary Cooper, Suzan Lewis

By Cary Cooper, Suzan Lewis

The best way to deal with Your occupation and relatives presents sound suggestion at the functional, monetary and emotional difficulties confronted by means of any double-career couple or relations.

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I’m much clearer now about responsibilities and recognizing that I have some personal home responsibilities as well as work responsibilities. Similarly, a chartered accountant explained how she had made life easier by stating explicitly what she was and was not willing to do in terms of overtime: To a certain extent I know I’m putting myself on the line, but I have stated that I’m only prepared to do a reasonable amount of overtime. When I think it is unreasonable I’ll say I’m not doing it. This fear of ‘putting yourself on the line’, however, may prevent many overburdened employees from taking such actions.

It wasn’t true, not for want of the chance but I wasn’t interested. The more successful I became, the worse things were. Some women respond consciously or unconsciously, by holding back in their career, in what they consider as an attempt to prioritize their family. A further education lecturer confessed: I could have gone much further in my career but I know that James would have felt the need to compete with me and there would have been murder at home. It wasn’t worth it. My marriage is more important.

It is important for managers to recognize this type of behaviour in themselves and others, and to atttempt to discourage employees from adopting these behavioural styles. Managers ensure that they themselves are not role models for stress inducing behaviour. Too often organizations do not question the value of workaholic behaviour until a key management figure suffers a heart attack. ❚ The long hours culture can encourage inefficiency and cause work–family spillover, stress and friction. Senior managers need to establish clear boundaries between work and family.

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