Work-Life Integration vs Work-Life Balance

In an earlier post, we spoke about the first Viking Rule to build a successful career: get to know yourself so you can find your vocation, the place where your talent meets what you like and what the world needs.

The second Viking Rule is to understand the market needs. When you start your professional career, it is normal not to know how the labour market Works and what companies need and offer, so you may need to consult people with more experience than yourself to find out the long-term characteristics of each career path.

A Mentor is a person with experience that helps you in your development within a formal program or as a result of a more spontaneous relationship. In other words, a Mentor is like a friend who listens to you and gives you advice on any subject that you are free to accept or reject. A Coach is something different, it is usually a specialized professional who directs you towards concrete results in the professional field and monitors your progress.

It is normal to have a natural Mentor, often a close person who has been your inspiration to choose your professional career; maybe your father/mother, a relative or a friend. If you do not have a natural Mentor, try to find people with more experience in the field where you want to work so they can advise you along the way.

When finding out the reality about the market, remember, you need to look at different things. Each person has different motivations to work. You may give more importance to your Professional Development, Compensation or Lifestyle. Some people love their work, others work looking for professional fulfillment o money. We live in a diverse workplace. 

One thing is for sure, we spend a lot of hours working and we constantly review how much time we allocate to work and other aspects of life. In the past, the concept of Work-Life Balance has been used to refer to this equilibrium, but the term is losing momentum as Jacob Morgan, the author of "The Future of Work", explains in this video, Work-Life Balance vs Work-Life Integration.

Work-life balance is being replaced by the concept of Work-Life Integration. 

Career and personal life are not independent silos, they are very connected. The term integration reflects better the need to look at both areas as a whole as the boundaries of these two worlds become thinner in the current workplace due to technology, methods of teamwork, etc. 

When thinking about the place where we would like to work, we need to take into account all aspects at the same time. The Work-Life Integration approach discourages phrases like: "I like this job but it would not allow me to have the work-life balance I want"... then, you do not like this job, right? Given you cannot separate a job from the lifestyle it carries along. 

Well, it may seem obvious but in we do hear similar things in the labour market because many times... we want it all.

Last but not least, if you are married, talking your professional decisions through  with your partner will help you take into account all personal elements to find the best suitable alternative.  Ideally, you will be able to integrate all pieces of the puzzle and find a job where everything fits.