Monday, May 14, 2012

Work Life Balance

A friend recently put up a post commenting on work life balance. I generally agree but have a slightly different angle on it. This is relevant primarily to the IT services industry, based on my experience, but may be applicable to others as well.

My view is that most of the people who complain about work life balance hate their jobs. They hate it so much that it becomes a chore and drains them physically and mentally. This is especially prevalent among the people in their late 20s and 30s. A big reason for this is the monotony of most IT careers, most projects are very similar in nature and with the industry trying to get into longer term outsourcing contracts, people spending 3-4 years in the same work environment is not unheard of. The solution is to change how people feel about their work. A way to tackle this is to rotate staff between assignments, our PSU banks used to do this on a regular basis in the past and we never heard about people complaining of work-life balance out there. New assignments bring new challenges and helps motivate and keep people on their toes.

Then there are the numbers, the actual time you spend on work versus personal activities. Undeniably, Indian IT workers work harder when compared to their Western peers (I'm not even going into whether the hours spent are all productive), but if you compare it to other categories like the Chinese factory worker or the worker in Indian industry, we are a pampered lot, with pay substantially above the national average for working conditions that are far better than the average. For this privilege, there is a price you pay, and that is a choice that each individual makes.

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