Posted by: Penelope Trunk on June 30
It might be that the whole issue of work-life balance is generational. Young people don’t believe work-life balance is possible, and they are searching for an alternative.
Recent work history points to colossal work-life-balance failure. For example, the baby boomers tried it, and ended up inventing the term latchkey kids. And when the latchkey kids grew up (generation X) and became parents themselves, they became the most hands-on parents the world has seen – inventing terms like the opt-out revolution and shared care parenting.
But generation Y sees both these options, largely, as failures. In the eyes of the millennial generation, it’s a failure to never be home with your kids, and it’s a failure to give up your career in order to parent. You could say that these young workers will see things differently when they have kids. But that’s probably not true.
Generation y sees work and life as blended rather than competitive with each other. Who, after all, really wants work that competes with their life? It makes sense that they would complement each other.
And this is where technology comes in. The Blackberry is a source of information overload to people who experience information overload – mostly those over age thirty. To those under age thirty, they are so good at managing the fast and endless flow of huge amounts of information, that they do not experience a feeling of information overload. They are in permanent sift-and-synthesize mode.
This state of information processing at all times means that work and life blend as a mélange of ideas and connections that are coming through, largely, the same sources. Are you wondering if you are going to be able to manage your work and life in a way that you don’t have to feign that balance is possible? Are you wondering if you can manage connections for both people and information in a way that makes a blend of work and life possible? It comes down, not really, to when you were born, but how you use media.
So figure out how to use social media and productivity tools in a way that blend your work and your life so they help each other. And if you want to know what generation you are really part of, here’s a test.