20 Mar Why Work/Life Balance and Success Cannot Co-Exist
Often times when I am consulting with candidates as to their motives for exploring a new opportunity, more often than not the idea of work/life balance surfaces.
My assessment is that most companies promote a work/life balance philosophy, and it is probably actually available.
You show up every day at 8 AM, you take an hour lunch, you check off all the boxes, you leave at 5:00 PM. Monday through Friday. Fifty-two weeks a year, less your vacation and holidays. Mission accomplished.
That’s all well and good.
But please don’t talk to me about work-life balance and your dissatisfaction with how you are compensated, or your lack of advancement opportunities, in the same breath.
Just the other day I read a comment somewhere on LinkedIn from an engineer who was complaining that if he had to do it all over again who would choose another profession because the civil engineering profession does not pay well, and one is not able to earn a six-figure income until he is well into his 40’s.
To that, I call BS.
I can reasonably suspect that that same individual would feel the same way in any other profession. No matter what your profession is, if all the doors are closed and locked then you’ve got to kick some doors down and make shit happen.
There are many talented and driven civil engineers, who are making six-figures in their 30’s. And if they are making north of $100K in their thirties, and they maintain that same drive, they will go places. Their annual incomes will surpass the $200k mark. They often become shareholders. They morph into amazing executive leaders who will then set the example and challenge the next generation of engineers to one-up them. I’m telling you this because I’ve seen it happen. And I suspect you have to.
The most successful people I know…in recruiting, in civil engineering, in my social network where I live, and in my circle of friends and family, do not work 40-hour work weeks. Keep in mind everyone’s definition of “success” is not the same.
If your definition of success does not involve the sacrifice of your time in doing the things you want to do, then you can work that 40 hour work week and still earn a decent living. Don’t get me wrong. If you enjoy working 8-5 and enjoy managing from the middle and would rather sacrifice income for time that’s awesome, there is nothing wrong with that, and in fact, I applaud you for recognizing that about yourself. And if that is the route you take, be the best damn middle manager there is!
Personally, my definition of success is consistently delivering results over a sustained period of time that supersede my peers in my industry. And by my peers, I mean my circle of trusted, high earning, civil engineering recruiters whose friendship and advice and trust I lean on heavily, but with whom also I love to compete against.
We inspire each other.
We trust each other.
We share ideas with each other.
We encourage each other.
We celebrate each others’ successes.
We lift each other up when we are down.
We do business together.
BUT WE ALSO COMPETE.
This unspoken competition leads to some wonderfully satisfied clients, who by the way define success in the same way I do. This leads to a generous income which allows me to not only take good care of my family both in the present and future but to contribute to my community in ways that I would otherwise not be able to if I was so concerned about work/life balance and working a 40-hour work week.
If your definition of success is in the same ball-park as mine, but you also believe in what would be the universal understanding of “work-life balance,” I’m not quite sure you can have your cake and eat it too.
That’s my two cents.
But more importantly, I would love to hear YOUR two cents on this topic and have a constructive and engaging conversation!
#civilengineering #engineering #success #worklifebalance #40hourworkweek #recruiting