When Leaning In Goes Too Far: Why We Need Work/Life Balance

Last week, an intern at Bank of America died after pulling eight all-nighters. Our society rewards ambition by pushing people harder and making people work longer hours.

But for what?

Why do investment bankers have to work 100 hours a week?

How did an intern work himself to death? And more importantly, what was the goal? To get a few more dollars for Bank of America?

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What is Our Goal?

Do we even know why we’re working so hard and for so long? Why does our work take priority over our family? It seems like we have it backwards, somehow.

We wake up, spend our mornings preparing for work, get to work, give work all of our energy (and then some!), and get home when we’re grumpy and short tempered to the people who matter most. Are we working toward a promotion? A raise in pay? In title?

Reexamining Priorities

What’s at the top of the ladder? If you think it’s a magical place, with accolades and unicorns, you’re probably mistaken. Instead of racing toward the top, examine why you’re working so hard. I can’t believe that people who have thought this all the way through would say that luxury cars, fancy homes, and second homes are more important than a strong bond with their spouse and children.

If, on the other hand, you set your life up to live simply and want fewer things, you will find more time and space for joy and love.

When Leaning in Goes Too Far

When we lean in too far, we fall over. Do you find yourself completely exhausted by the end of the day? How about the end of the week? Do you find that you’re snapping at the people in your life you consider the most important?

Family, friends and relationships are priceless. Your job has a dollar value, though, and it’s less than priceless, I promise.

Simplify.

Eliminate the things you don’t need.

Save your money.

Love your family.

Love your friends.

We only get one shot at this. What do you want on your gravestone? “She never missed a meeting” or something else?

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