I hear a lot of people talking about work-life balance. Work-life balance suggests that work is that thing we have to do in order to pay for the things we really want to do — “life.” The very notion of work-life balance suggests that there must be a tradeoff. The tradeoff pits work and life against each other in a sort of sad contest—when work wins, life loses.
What is Work-Life Integration
In the concept of work-life integration, life and work are all the same thing. We read and respond to emails while our children play soccer. We have both life and work at the same time. This works when you love what you do and want to do it all the time. This only works if you are really on board and passionate about your work. It’s hard to imagine sharing my family time so our stockholders could get larger dividends at the end of the quarter. It does work when I think of my work in terms of helping people. I like sharing opportunities to help others with my family. Work-life integration can work, but it really raises the bar on the type of work I will sign on to do. When I can no longer separate the work from who I am, work has to be something that I am proud of, want my kids to see and actively participate in, and that I would feel comfortable talking to everyone and anyone about.