What is work-life balance in your mind and how do you interpret it? Everyone has different requirements and needs at different points in their life. Therefore, different people define work-life balance differently. Work-life balance could mean balance between work and family to some people. For an employee with family, they define work-life balance as balancing between work responsibilities and family obligations. For an older employee, work/life balance could mean balance between work and health activities. Those who are to be graduating and entering working life soon, you might still not have a clear picture and experience the struggle and challenges to balance between work and life. It is easy to google to search for what does work-life balance means, but to experience and manage it yourself is a surreal experience than just reading it through internet. For a young employee like Tan Jia Hui, work-life balance means to balance work and quality of life. Jia Hui relates her experience here.
“In my experience working 24/7 hours as a nurse in one of the government hospitals, it was indeed challenging with additional under staffing issues, more workloads and expectation from employers. Indeed, it is never easy to give the best performance in work and at the same time to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal growth, self-care and other personal activities and in addition to the demands of the workplace. As a workaholic, I used to put work and study as my top priorities and abandon behind other things in life. Not knowing how unbalance is between work, study and life is dangerous. Why? Eventually from a very productive and positive minded employee, I ended up losing my passion and interest for my work and I failed to achieve the enjoyment of work as the only thing in my thoughts was to strive harder each passing day. I was also chasing after deadlines to complete every assignment and I lost the purpose of why I was pursuing my studies in the first place. I ended up with burnout and feel demotivated most the time. I also lose most of my friends which I used to have before as I always missed out on friends’ gathering and happy occasions. In the end, I came to realise I failed to balance between work, study and life. However, the IMU nursing programme really thought me to achieve the wholesomeness of my individuality- my study, work and my personal life. I took time to self-reflect myself and come up with strategies to balance everything. I listed out, organise, managed my time and list down what and which one should be in top priority or come together and make sure all must be balanced. With the tight dateline of the assignments for the nursing programme, I managed to accomplish some and submit my assignments on time, or even earlier sometimes. At my workplace, I learned to set manageable goals each day. I feel the sense of accomplishment and control when I achieved my priorities. I also learned how to ask for help when needed and learned to be realistic about workloads. It is undeniable, the more control we have over our work, the less stressed we get. I also make an effort to spend time with friends and family during leisure times. With the stronger support systems, both from my workplace and my lecturers in the IMU nursing programme, I felt happier and more positive minded in seeing things each day. Indeed, how a person manages and balance their work-life differs from every individual, needs and changes over time and situations. When we work every day, all day, with no time set aside for living life, we just get more stressed. We are unable to find sight of reality. What is the point of leading such life when you know you have the power to change and lead a balanced work-life instead?
Written by Tan Jia Hui (NS2/18) Edited by Dr Lim Swee Geok & Yee Bit Lian