Refuse to be Passive

Work Life Balance

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

There’s a trendy new phrase being thrown around these days, it’s “work/life balance.” Everyone seems to have an opinion on the concept. Some view work/life balance as a necessity for a healthy, happy life. Others view those who go on about work/life balance as lazy sissies (not that I’ve met many people in this camp). Work/life balance is all about reducing stress, recognizing that money does not buy happiness, and works towards increasing contentedness, and a simplified way of living. Granted, you still need to make an income that allows you to live, but do you really need to focus on always getting more? Are there things more important in life than one’s career path? Is it acceptable to take a slower or different route to career success rather that the ones touted by the family, friends, and professionals that influence your life? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m currently in between jobs, and deciding which job to take or even apply for is directly influenced by my thoughts on work/life balance.

Things to be considered include length of the commute, work environment, and salary paid. As far as that goes, location is very important to me. I’ve turned down job offers with better pay that would have resulted in an hour long commute each way, or having to move to a community to which I don’t feel particularly connected.

I have another job interview coming up soon and I’m trying to keep and open mind, but the truth of the matter is that if location matters to me that much, then I already know I won’t take this job. Is a dollar per hour wage increase worth an increased commute? And will the training and work environment at this further out location be so much better that I should opt to live in the suburbs rather than in the city centre where I want to be? Will training in a hotel environment be that much better than training in a restaurant environment? My goal is to get my Red Seal in Culinary Arts. As long as both jobs have respected apprenticeship programs, should it really matter which I take? The one job, the more central, is with a chain. Although I never would have expected to want to take a job with a chain over a hotel, they do have a good training program, a positive work environment, and although the pay may be up to a buck lower than the hotel per hour, the commute is twenty minutes versus an hour.

Granted, I could choose the hotel and try to find a place further out of the downtown core, but the truth of the matter is that I wanted to become invested in a low-income community in the downtown core and feel that that might be a good enough reason to take what seems like the lesser job. I’ll be living in a cramped apartment, but the neighbourhood will be wonderful, complete with recreation complex, locally owned grocery store with excellent variety and prices, a delightful coffee bar and bakery, a large park, nearby churches, and a number of missions and not-for-profits which I will be able to volunteer for.  All of these quality of life items mean more to me than an extra dollar an hour  paired with a long commute.

As far as the work atmosphere goes, the job with the chain (a very popular one, but a chain none-the-less), would allow me to work mornings. That would give me more time for volunteering and also for developing my abilities as a freelance food writer and critic. Have I mentioned that I’ll never have to work Sundays? That’s right! I told the Chef that I couldn’t work Sundays as it was a family/church day and he told me he thought that it was a really nice idea and had no problems giving me Sundays off. Wow. Okay. What other restaurant is going to do that for you? Then there is the fact that when I requested not to start until January so that I could tie up loose ends in my old town, and spend time with the family at Christmas, he once again told me it wasn’t a problem! He said he’d rather have me start when I’m ready then have to start taking days off while working to sort things out. I think quality of life is winning out on my traditional career track here.

What are your thoughts? Feedback is always appreciated! 

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