There’s this idea of late that the younger generations place a higher priority on living an integrated life than older generations. But I’m not so sure this is a generational concept. Instead, I suspect it’s more of a trend of our times, a trend that involves most of the workforce regardless of age.
The belief that we should strive for balance in our work lives has been gaining momentum for a couple of decades, and it’s not going away. You see the evidence in almost any survey that touches on such subjects. For instance, the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report includes a trend it titled “The Employee Experience: Culture, Engagement, and Beyond.”
Focusing on the “employee experience” is largely about helping them live more integrated lives.
“Today, companies are looking at employee journeys, studying the needs of their workforce, and using net promoter scores to understand the employee experience,” the Deloitte study said. “Workplace redesign, well-being, and work productivity systems are all becoming part of the mandate for HR.”
You don’t have to be young for that type of experience and engagement to matter. For many in the older generations, however, a balanced, integrated life hardly seemed like an option. The grindstone mentality often was forged out of necessity, especially for those whose lives emerged from the Great Depression or survived one recession or another.
Now, with advances in technology and a relatively strong economy, we have both the ability to seek balance and the appreciation for the benefits of integrating non-work passions into our lives and our work. We’ve learned we can work hard but also do work we love. And, as I’ve discovered personally of late, we don’t have to give up our passions for things that don’t have a direct, obvious correlation to our business bottom line.
My revelation in this area relates to my love for music. I learned to play the guitar at 13, and I aspired to become a professional musician before turning toward the path of business. After years of giving scant attention to my singer/songwriter self, I’ve begun incorporating those loves into my life – including my work life. It’s given me a fresh sense of joy, and, I believe, made me better as a speaker and leadership coach – the profession I love dearly. (For more on this, check out this video.)
In my work, I encounter people all the time who are searching for joy in their work. For many of them, the idea of integrating non-work passions like music or art or teaching seems counter to what they’ve always known and done. For the younger generations, it might seem more natural. But for all of us, it’s worth the effort to make it happen. A balanced, integrated life provides harmony – working together in ways that makes the music more beautiful.