The Evolution of Balance
Whenever our culture shifts, the changes send off ripple effects and cause whole industries to rebuild themselves - sometimes in small ways, sometimes with complete makeovers. Just like with physical evolution, sociological evolution requires our species to adapt or perish.
Today, I believe our society is in the midst of a work/life balance evolution. Its been a long time coming, and we have decades ahead of us before it is anywhere near complete. But we have evidence of it now, measurable evidence. Generation X/Y is demanding balanced lives in all sectors of business, and this outcry is forcing careers to change trajectory and corporations to make changes in how they employee these young and talented workers.
Take this story in today's WSJ on how young physicians are rejecting the 24/7 dedication of their profession, and how medicine is changing to accommodate their wishes. While some (usually older) doctors are complaining about the younger generation's work ethic, others are applauding how this change could actually improve medicine by assuring alert and focused clinicians who can care for patients with a team approach. Medicine is becoming increasingly electronic - portable access to full electronic medical records, for example, with fully updated problem lists and medication lists - which facilitates multi-person care teams. Physicians are becoming more reliant on subspecialists for up-to-date evidence-based patient care - not just other physician subspecialists, but highly trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and (to Amy's delight) clinical pharmacists. All of this not only allows, but supports, physicians who want to practice excellent medicine and still have balanced and happy home lives.
Growth is always hard. Naysayers will balk. Tipping points will require action - evolution will happen. Balanced lives are becoming possible in so many professions previously only open to those who couldn't be involved fathers (or mothers). No more. Let's get out there and tip over some more bastions of imbalance...they're already teetering....