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Are You Living to Work?

Have you mastered the work-life balance?  Is your identity defined by your wealth, career accomplishments, and work productivity?  Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman Brothers, wrote a New York Times opinion piece on this topic and shared her regrets about sacrificing her marriage, friendships, and family in an effort to achieve success.  She shared “I did not know how to value who I was versus what I did and what I did was who I was.”  She now realizes that she sold herself short and there were diminishing returns for incredible sacrifice.  Her career success took precedent over everything and everyone of any importance in her life.

Do you obsess about work at the expense of relationships?   For some, work is a safe place where they are in charge, a place where their confidence is high, and a place where there is very little emotional expression required.  Work can be a place of refuge, admiration, and purpose.  Some people use work to escape from home. Many of my patients have convinced themselves that achieving financial success and providing a wonderful lifestyle for their spouse and children shows their love.  Some even believe that being a good provider secures their position in the marriage and satisfies their partner’s needs.  Quite the contrary is true.  Most of the spouses that I work with in my practice prefer “presence over presents.”

Work can be an addiction and consume all of your energy, time, and thought.  In today’s technological age we can never leave work if we feel compelled to always stay connected.  How consuming is work for you or your partner?  What impact has work had on your personal life?  What has prevented you from changing?  These are questions worth discussing with your spouse if this work-life balance is a problem for your relationship.  Check out next week’s blog to learn ways to better balance life and work.

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