Happy New Year, all! Since it’s still January as I write this, I can still say that. I hope your holidays were relaxing, fun and refreshing. Mine really were all of that this season. I should have put “refreshing” first, because that’s exactly how I felt coming back to work…refreshed and ready to tackle the New Year with renewed passion and purpose. I’m a firm believer that there needs to be a balance between work and play. Too much work and you’re a workaholic who runs the risk of losing friends and alienate family. Too much play and your business suffers and co-workers start to resent you.
My own parents were workaholics my entire childhood. They were at it seven days a week, 12 hours a day and then some. My brother and I walked home from school every day, made our own snacks and did our homework. We managed to eat together each night, but the conversation inevitably turned to work. As much as we tried to understand as kids that our parents were building a business from scratch, I think even then we figured out that they worked too much. I know they now regret missing many of those “special moments” while we were growing up.
Now that I have my own family, I really try to strike a balance. Luckily, I’m in a family business (as so many of us are in this industry). I get to pick up my kids from school, volunteer in their classrooms on occasion, or take them to the office if I need to. What a privilege that is and one I don’t take for granted. Sure, I miss some of that special “kid stuff” when I’m out at conventions or meetings, but there’s no resentment on their part. All things considered, I have few regrets about missing the truly important things in life…our family and friends.
There’s no mathematical formula measuring what’s too much work or too little play. I say do what feels right for you and yours. And it can change from season to season or, if you’re in the magazine business, month to month. If you own or manage an FEC, summer is super busy, so take the kids on vacation in the fall. It’s probably cheaper anyway. If you’re like me, December is our busiest time, so my kids know they’ll be carted to work when school gets out. It’s just the way it is. Luckily, “Grandpa” works here, too, so he’s always good to take them out for a “breakfast burger.”
Use this New Year to revisit your formula for work and play. 2017 could be the year you strike the perfect balance.
– Ingrid Adlum Milkes