3 Min Read
Work-life Balance in the Corona Age
How many of us have changed career paths or adjusted our lives to find a better quality of life and establish a better work-life balance? How many of us have said to ourselves, “It would be great to spend more time with the kids….the significant other…time to do more of the things that I never seem to have time for like clean the garage or paint a room or play more golf.” Well, toss a global pandemic into the mix and many of us find ourselves thrust into exactly….well maybe not exactly, what we wished for.
8 years ago I was laid off from my corporate banking job and made the choice not to return. I had spent 20 years commuting 2 hours each way from Northport to Manhattan. Much of my career was spent in a high pressure environment on a fixed income trading floor as distressed debt and leveraged finance sales and trading professional. The typical day would start with the alarm going off at 5:00am to get to work by 7:30am and often end after late nights out entertaining clients. I never saw much of my wife and kids other than weekends and finally had just had enough. With the support of my family, I have gradually built a strategic consulting and investment banking business that I operate from a home office. The lack of job security is a different sort of stress but the quality of life and time with the family has been a godsend.
Working from home takes discipline and focus and it also requires family to respect boundaries. It took a long time and a lot of adjustment to train myself and also train my family. Fast forward to the current environment of social distancing and my home now functions like a small WeWork office in part because my family has lived with me working from home and has adopted many of my work at home practices.
We are two weeks into it and oddly, we are all adjusting. My wife who is a paralegal takes over the kitchen, my daughter who recently graduated college splits time between her bedroom and the living room, and my son who is studying music has taken over the basement which functions as a mini recording studio and online classroom. I, thankfully, established my territory long ago in a spare bedroom that functions as my office. We all respect boundaries and all understand we each have work to do. The best part is when dinner rolls around we all pitch in and cook and eat together and have plenty to talk about.
We are all under huge stress. Many of us have lost jobs or are living on top of each other stuck in isolation either suffering from “deer in the headlights” syndrome or trying figure out how to adapt. However, do not fail to see the upside within the crisis. The point I am trying to make here is this time of crisis should give us all a moment to reflect and appreciate what we do have. For those who always wished they had more time with their spouses or children….well now you have it and don’t waste it because with any luck, it won’t last. Everyone should have one common goal: come out the other side of this a better person in all aspects of your life beginning with strengthening the love and bonds with those under your own roof.