My assumption has been that the 24x7 world of integrating your work into your life - - or integrating your life into your work was a given. It's just part of the lives we choose. We'll - maybe not
We make choices throughout our lifetime of work between having a job vs. a career. I've always defined career as that ever rising, goal oriented drive for success (you get to define success) with a "job" being something less. While pursuing a career you might have a greater need to balance between your work and your life requiring prioritization, patience, choices and more.
Let me describe two vocations that are both very different, yet have one similar work-life characteristic.
- Plumber. This job (and a fine career for many) is pretty much defined by doing the work. Each individual might choose to work different hours but when you aren't working, you aren't working. You come home and are not be able to work more. I will argue that the billing, making appointments, etc. is at the low end of the "work impacts life" spectrum.
- Physician (in a hospital). I don't think I am being sacrilegious here, so hear me out. Doctors work astoundingly long hours, often for days on end. They are incredibly special people to do what they do. But - when they are finally out of the hospital, another doctor has to step in a pick up the load. The work (e.g., the patient) requires 24 hour continuous coverage and therefore multiple doctor coverage is required. So when finally home, perhaps they are fully into the life side?
A plumber might choose to have a 24-hour emergency service and trade-off that non-work time for more customer service. A doctor will surely be on call for emergencies, but seems like these vocations might allow for a better separation between work and life - when in life mode.
It isn't blue collar vs. white collar. It isn't advanced degree vs. technical skill. It's that many of us have jobs that truly can be worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - from the house! A day can be completely killed with meetings; email can consume a day. And somewhere along the way people are expected to put out a work product. There is always more work to do - available now!
Is this type of work the truly challenging root of work-life issues? Can we prioritize differently and just become a plumber or a doctor coming home after a grueling day?
(And please - don't think that I am comparing or judging my life vs. a Doctor's life. Choices. Apples and Oranges).
Are all jobs the same for work-life? What do you think?