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

Setting Limits That Work

  As the president of a successful commercial real-estate company, opportunities are endless for Gary Rappaport. Operating out of the Washington, D.C. area, The Rappaport Companies have experienced great success over the past 20 years. Why then, does Gary feel the limitations he has set make him the success he is today?

  The answer is simple: Without the limitations he puts on his business, he would lose the valuable time he spends with his family. This family, consisting of wife Daphne, and daughters Debbie, 23, Stacy, 20, Chloe, 8 and Jessica, 2, is the most important aspect of his life.

  So how does Gary, who manages 23 shopping centers, 750 tenants, 30 employees and works 12-hour days, find the time for everything? "It's important to keep a balance in one's life," says Gary. "You can achieve satisfaction through running your own business, and you can achieve satisfaction through the happiness of having a wife and children."

  This balanced life is not an easy task, reports Gary. For example, Chloe has numerous activities to attend during the school year and summer vacation. One way he tackles this difficult problem is through keeping the lines of communication open with his wife. This allows him to gain the necessary perspective when setting his weekly schedule. Because Daphne formerly worked as an employee of The Rappaport Companies, the process is easier. She can understand the schedule Gary deals with, while appreciating the importance of family.

  Because of this, the times Gary is not at the family dinner table come few and far between. Every night Gary has a date at 7:00. He rushes home from work to enjoy a dinner with his wife and daughters. He uses this time to catch up with Chloe and to spend time with the quickly growing Jessica. Though his older children have moved out, he pays careful attention to the time he spends with them, too. Stacy, who attends The University of Miami, only lives in D.C. during the summer. She and her father meet once a week for a dinner alone. Debbie, 5th-grade teacher in D.C., comes over to Gary's house with Stacy every Sunday for brunch or dinner.

  Another important aspect is Gary's relationship with his wife. He and Daphne make a special point to never lose sight of their relationship as a married couple. Whether through taking vacations alone, or spending time talking after the kids have gone to bed, the couple make a point to appreciate what they have.

So how does Gary keep his work and life in constant balance?

  When looking at his company, he defines what it can do, then what he wants to do. The two are not the same because he knows he could lose out on family time.

  "There's always that opportunity waiting to grow, but one must not let that get out of control," Rappaport says. "The maximum amount of work to be taken on must be set up before letting things get carried away. If that boundary is acceptable for everyone, then it will work. I set a maximum and a minimum in both my business and personal lives. This is how I know where I'm gong to go... with balance."

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