As part of this quarter’s theme of Wellbeing and Happiness in the Workplace we asked our Alumni Bloggers to share their views on work/life balance. Carl Lincoln achieved 1st Class Honours in Business Studies with a Year in Industry before going on to achieve a distinction in his MSc in Value Chain Management in 2013. Having met his current employer ITL (Integrated Technologies Ltd) in his final year studying at KBS, Carl is now ITL’s Business Development Manager. Work/life balance? Carl Lincoln can’t stand the phrase.
I hate the phrase ‘work/life balance’. The balance part I agree with. Just ask a tightrope walker – when things aren’t in balance there’s generally something going wrong. No matter what you’re doing, being well-centered is a healthy state-of-mind. The problem is that to me ‘work/life balance’ can easily be misinterpreted. It implies that working and living are two different things, and this simply isn’t the case.
Allow me to illustrate just how depressing it would be if working and living were two separate entities:The average yearly working hours in the UK is 1,677 (1,789 in the US). That’s 209 8-hour days.The current UK retirement age is 66. Assuming you work 209 days a year from age 22 to 66, you’re at work 9,196 days – that’s about 25 full years of your life! 25 years spent ‘not living’? No thanks!
The part of your day spent at work is still part of life. In fact, based on the numbers above the only thing you spend more of your average week doing is sleeping! During my undergraduate degree I did a Year in Industry. Whilst I learned a lot about myself during that time it wasn’t really in an environment that suited me all that well.
When deciding on your next move after you graduate, start by thinking about what you want in life. That doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with a 5, 10, 20 year plan but instead looking at what makes you happy now. What do you enjoy most about University? What motivates you to paint? Why do you work out every day? What is it about stamp collecting that you get a kick out of? If you can drill down and really get to the heart of why you do what you do you can start looking at jobs that will give you the same buzz. And once you start doing something, if it doesn’t feel like living, get another job.
Despite being tempted to carry on to a PhD I finally managed to pull myself away from the University of Kent in 2013 after an undergraduate degree in Business Studies and an MsC in Value Chain Management.
Expect short, punchy, actionable advice that I hope will help students to get into the right mindset for finding their ideal graduate job and making the most of it when they do.