A couple of news items came to my attention related to some very interesting work+life “balance” related trends underway in England. One relates to the country’s upcoming election and another relates to an interesting survey.
First, David Cameron, is the 39-year old Conversative leader whom I blogged about back in May. Well, according to political blogger, Andrew Sullivan, it looks like he may actually have a very good shot at replacing Tony Blair as Prime Minister.
One of the many reasons I started this blog was to share the important and interesting work being done by the dedicated professionals in the Work-Life field. Unfortunately, much of this work is never covered by the mainstream media. Yet it ultimately influences how we collectively combine work and life. So I love passing it along!
One of the most innovative work-life think tanks in the field is the Center for Work and Family (CWF) at Boston College. Under its Director, Brad Harrington, the CWF oversees a number of innovative work-life research initiatives.
On September 26th, CWF launched their most recent innovation: the Boston College Global Workforce Roundtable (GWF). I recently spoke with CWF’s Kathy Lynch, the force behind the GWR, about the kick-off meeting in London which was hosted by GlaxoSmithKline. I asked her to share what she thought were the most interesting results of this meeting:
The Work+Life “Wars”—Mommy Wars, and now Daddy Wars—have always baffled me. Are these wars real? I often wonder (and have written about the subject before). And assuming they are real, for at least a portion of the population, what is the underlying source of the conflict?
In any war, there are two competing groups, each believing, they are “right,” and each willing to fight to prove it. Where does this need for “rightness” regarding our individual work+life choices come from? Well, an opinion piece by David Brooks in this Sunday’s New York Times may hold a clue.
Although Brooks analyzes the current political climate, the work he cites by current writer, Daniel Goleman, and by the economist, Adam Smith (from 250 years ago) offers a surprisingly relevant explanation:
A seismic shift in our collective work+life sensibility is underway. Last week, I cited the 2006 Universum MBA study in which, for the first time, both male and female MBAs ranked “work-life balance” as their top career goal.
The Yale Undergraduate Work-Life Balance Survey is further proof of this trend, but this time we’re talking about undergraduates. What’s really interesting is that the student newspaper reported the survey findings as “unsurprising.” They are, in fact, very surprising. They directly contradict the “mothers-only” and “opting out” messages we hear in the media and from inside Corporate America. Here is how the Yale Daily News put it:
Last week, I conducted a series of teleseminars for the alumni of top business schools. Although most of my work is done within big companies, I am always trying to find new and creative ways to share the “work+life fit” strategy with a broader audience. Most people don’t work for my clients since approximately 95% of the U.S. workforce works for small or medium-sized companies.
I chose to target MBAs this time, in part, because I am one. But also because in my experience the stereotypical MBA model of “all work, and no life” doesn’t reflect the reality of most students and alumni.