ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - August 2000

Issue Highlight - Homeward Bound
--- Peter Block offers some practical reccomendations about how to create balance and harmony in your life.
These recommendations are guaranteed to work or your time back."

In This Issue...
The Economics of Choice
Children: A Blessing or a Lucky Taxbreak
Welcome to the Wild West
The Struggle to Have It All

Peter Block Column
Day In The Life Stories
Views for a Change

Heard on the Street
Letters to the Editor

Balancing Work and Life — A Profile

Stamping Your Priorities
On Your Head

  The alarm rings at 6:30 a.m., and Susan Hay is usually the first one up. After a quick shower, coffee with her husband and a quick cuddling session with her four-year-old son Reily, Hay settles down in her at-home office to put in a full day as an associate candidate developer.

  Although she is now comfortable with her daily routine, it was but nine short months ago that Hay decided to make the switch from Vice President of Human Resources at a small insurance company to self-employment. "After almost three years-and with the world's cutest four-year-old at home-I decided I wanted out," recalls Hay. "I called a personal coach and asked her to help me create a plan where I could be working from home." After working with Susan McKay, a licensed coach, Hay learned how to make the transition to home employment. "Ten weeks later I was gone," Hay proclaims.

  But even today, Hay finds that striking a balance between work and family is an organic process. "It has never come easy for me," she confesses, "and I don't think it ever is a constant battle." Hay also notes that balance itself is often a moving target and that it can often mean different things to different people. "For me, it meant that I needed to get my job out of my head 24 hours a day," she says. "So executive search is natural for me-it plays to my strengths and is personal and intense without being complicated."

  While working from home has introduced some new challenges into Hay's day (a "please stay out, mommy is working" sign now hangs on her office door), the overall effect has been a positive one. "I am on the phone and listening to the children squeal with laughter-and I incorporate that right into my conversations with people. After all, I am asking them to share who they are with me. It helps when I do the same."

  Lately, Hay has rediscovered a need for affiliation, realizing that working, as a consultant alone will not be enough to help her reach her goals. With three opportunities currently on her plate, Hay plans to take the job that she thinks will fit with her need for balance-as well as one that allows her to work from her home.

  "I don't think there is ever going to be a better time for talented, hard working people to ask corporations to help them balance," explains Hay. "I think that we have the mistaken idea that because things are so much more open for us that we can have it all. From my experience, a good idea is to decide what your priorities are and what balance means to you. Then stamp it on your forehead."

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