Have a meaningful Deepavali
Why Work-life Integration as opposed to Work-life Balance?
Today, it is fashionable to talk about Work-life Balance. Many see Work-life Balance representing the interplay between the time we apportion to work and life as two separate activities in competition with each other. Life is good, work is a bane. This is a short-sighted and superficial approach to work and life.
Work is part of life, not its competition. It is through work that we keep pace with life. Work is the source of our sustenance, a place to make friends and meet like-minded souls, a platform to learn and sharpen our skills, a journey to discover our potential and the mecca for our vocation. Why and how then do we see work as a bane?
As such, it is no surprise that all our traditions look at work positively. Hinduism considers work as an act of worship and faith. Confucius stressed that work should be more than just a means of making a living; it should be a vocation, a calling. According to The Buddha, when a man works hard night and day without being sluggish or lazy, every day is called a lucky day. Christianity suggests that when we work, do it with all our heart as though we are working for God, not men. In Islam, work is an amal that earns pahala – and man will not get anything unless he works hard and nothing belongs to him except what he strives for.
If work is part of life, we need to integrate it and find a winning formula. As each individual is different, we also have diverse challenges. One size cannot fit all as the conventional “9-to-5” mantra suggests.
One may be new at a job or a fresh graduate and need the extra hours and weekends to catch up on the skills required. The other may be ambitious and talented with big plans to be top management someday. What if you are the eldest in the family entrusted to earn and care for your siblings or a single mother in need to earn more to care for your kids? What about the low performer who cannot complete the job within the working hours? There is a need to integrate work differently in each of these situations.
We need to stop pitting work against life with ideas like Work-life Balance. Perhaps unintentionally, we are leading the younger generation astray hindering them from achieving their potential and success. Today, many “go home on time” without getting the job done in the name of Work-life Balance at the expense of Work-life Integration, productivity and performance.
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Have a meaningful Deepavali
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's life exemplified that work, when performed with the right spirit, can be considered a form of worship to create a more integrated approach to life. - Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927 – 2001)