The Work Family
As you know, I am currently laid off from my IT support position and have been rethinking my career direction prior to just jumping back into the paid workforce. But recently, I've begun to interview for positions. My challenge is large: to secure an interesting and meaningful job that pays well (enough) and allows me to work reasonable hours that fit with my ESP family life.
I will not be highlighting each company I interview with, but found one I spoke with yesterday to be a great example of what I'll call the Work Family culture. This is a company that assumes you do not exist outside of work, and that aims to be your whole world. Work hard, work long hours, love your job, get lots of perks and socialize with your peers at work all day long. This culture doesn't expect top production for 50 hours a week, but it does expect that you are physically present for this long - including bonding and shmoozing and hanging out. Time management studies tell us that actual work productivity goes down long before the 40 hour/week mark is reached.
The Work Family succeeds when you don't actually have a more important life outside of work. Or when you have a SAH partner to handle outside concerns. But it sure doesn't work for me. I will love my job and contribute eagerly to making my company a smashing success - don't get me wrong. But I am not one-dimensional. The job that utilizes me to the fullest is the one that doesn't expect me to loiter there, because I'd rather be home with my kids or out on a long bike ride than spending nonproductive time at work. Balance energizes me, and I give my best when I can achieve it.
On with the job search! Hopefully next time I'll find a company that considers me a whole person - not just an employee.