Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What does work-life harmony mean to you?

To me, it means undertaking meaningful work while remaining engaged with your family. I'm moved to write about this because the last week of January will be the most intense and busy work-wise for me since I started working in the non-profit sector. It's a once-in-a-lifetime world volunteer conference event which I'll be managing the communications for. It'll also see me working from 7am to God-knows-what-time for four days.

"What's four days?" I hear some of you ask. Four days is eight Jordy pick-ups and drop-offs, four breakfasts and dinners, 32 stories, endless negotiations over length of baths and how many biccies for dessert, and about a thousand tickles. Four days is also a lot of juggling for poor D and I.

While I know we'll get through it, and I won't likely have to work those types of hours for some time, I can't help but think of those parents out there for whom this is a reality. Not to mention the single parents. Perhaps work life harmony is not about the absolute hours you work, but about reaching an arrangement where you are comfortable, or at least can live with, the roles you take on.

Which started me thinking about the most kid-friendly jobs out there for someone with my sort of skills and interests. Just storing this away for future reference, and for the possible scenario of a number two child (purely hypothetical at this stage!):

1. PR Consultant - need to get client mix right. Best would be non-consumer based accounts. Perhaps government project, international NGO, research agency or think-tank.

2. Online retail store owner - I harbour such dreams surrounding online retail. I reckon I'd be good at sales. Never tried it professionally, unless you count 'selling' ideas to clients and media, but my gut tells me I could be good at this. Have so many ideas floating in my head right now. So exciting!

3. Freelance writer - doable, but now that I am working closely with one at work, realise it's a continual challenge getting steady work. What you need is at least one anchor retainer client. Who pays on time. Also, not sure about long-term job satisfaction.

4. Tuition teacher - reckon I could earn tidy sum teaching GP or English, but again, job-satisfaction and need to work weekends.

5. Start own business that is child or parenting focused - except I don't think I subscribe to the main parenting values in Singapore. May not understand what drives potential customers. Example, I don't believe in enrichment programmes or hothousing at a young age, also have strong distaste for anything labelled Xxx-method. But believe there are a growing number like me. Always worth revisiting.

Anyway, where I am really suits me right now. I do feel I am achieving work life harmony most days, though don't even talk to me about that last week of January. Ah well, as long as I feel I am getting somewhere. Didn't Confucius say something about just keep moving, however slowly, as long as you don't stop? Will keep those words close to my heart for now.

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