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Work-Life Balance?

An internal debate

Pexels, Public Domain
Source: Pexels, Public Domain

So much has been written urging us to strive for work-life balance. An offshoot of that is the exhortation to meditate, do yoga, etc.

There is an under-discussed counter-position. So here is an ego/alter-ego debate on the issue.

Work less: Not only don’t you get paid more, but your co-workers also get annoyed with you for “showing us up.” Your wife is annoyed with you for not spending more time with the family.

Work more: Being productive, making a difference, is more important than all that.

Work less: How much difference do you really make? If you worked less, sooner or later, they’d hire an additional person to get it all done. And so by working so much, you’re actually depriving someone of a job.

Work more: I make a difference by working more—I do my job quite well, and besides, I’m not sure the employer would hire. The work just might not get done.

Work less: You could make a bigger difference by spending more time with your wife and kids.

Work more: I subscribe to the quality-time argument. If I come home at 6 instead of 8, yeah, I’ll talk a few minutes more with wife and kids, but usually, they’d just as soon do their own thing. I’m not convinced that coming home earlier makes so much difference. Besides, home is more stressful than work. So much conflict, like, “Mommy! Mommy! Daddy is making me do my homework. You said I could do it later!”

Work less: If you dedicated more time to family, maybe there’d be less conflict. Besides, if you worked less, you'd have more time for fun.

Work more: Do I really find recreation that much more pleasurable than working? I like what I do. I'm good at what I do. So not only do I enjoy it, I feel more contributory.

Work less: They say that workaholics die young. You don’t realize the toll on your health those long work hours take.

Work more: If stress kills, I’d die younger if I worked less—Like I said, home is more stressful than work.

Work less: Is the whole world wrong? Every expert from Aristotle to today’s pop-psych gurus stress work-life balance.

Work more: Remember how often the experts are wrong, even the consensus of medical scientists, some of the smartest people. For decades, they said, lower your dietary cholesterol. Now they say that’s not so important. For decades, they said to eat margarine instead of butter. Now they say the opposite. For decades, they said, take baby aspirin to prevent heart attacks. Now they say, don’t. I have to rely on common sense, which says that if anything, I’m more relaxed at work.

Work less: You’re forgetting your obligations to your wife and kids. You chose to get married and have kids. That imposes a responsibility. And they’re merely asking you to do what’s standard for people who are married with kids.

The integrated ego/alter-ego: Who the hell knows? Do I wimp out and simply strike a middle ground? Or does the wise person within me think that, at least at this stage in my life, I should emphasize the “work” part or the “life” part of work-life balance?

Dear reader, do you think you should work more or work less?

I read this aloud on YouTube.