Work-life-balance is not just a question of how much you love your job.

Five years after Steve Jobs’ death there’s still many of his quotes being shared on the web every day. One of his most famous quotes is about love. Yes, about how much we love our jobs: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

We all know that Jobs was in deep love when it comes to his professional life. Many people share this quote on the web and say that they don’t believe in work-life balance. The thinking goes that if you love your job enough, who needs balance? Or “the more you love your job the less it will feel as if you don’t have enough time for your “real life”.

Do you agree? What if you love your job and still don’t find time for your loved ones or for yourself?

I do love my job. I’m blessed with not having any doubts if I have chosen the right career. The one that is right for me. Maybe not for everyone. And I do like the passion behind Steve Jobs’ statement. I think it’s wonderful and might even be essential to love what you do for a living. 
But many people seem to overlook one very important fact:

Having a job you enjoy and living a balanced life are two completely separate topics.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your job. But it’s not enough to keep you sane in the storm of everyday’s pressure: deadlines, expectations, piles of work and too many e-mails can still be very pressuring and having a bad impact on your work-life-balance. And the more you enjoy your job the more prone you might be to neglegt your social life. Yes I know that sometimes the life at work can also be social. My life at work definitely is social and I like to spend time with my colleagues. But I still need some time for myself, for some sleep, for my partner, my parents or my friends, for buying food and keeping my home clean. The more I work, the less time I have for this part of my life. And I’m not alone with this. And it hasn’t to do anything with how much I love what i do for a living.

Your work-life-balance is in danger when you…

  • are too tired to call your mom in the evening or when its too late to call anyone when you get out of the office. This might happen from time to time and then it’s completely fine but when this is getting the norm you should think about balance.
  • keep cancelling lunches or dinners you planned to go to.
  • stop going to the gym at lunch break or in the evening.
  • wake up several times at night realizing that your mind is still in the office trying to solve problems and juggling projects.
  • only see your partner (and maybe your kids) asleep and a few minutes in the morning.
  • keep having dinner in the office because you have to add an evening shift to keep up with deadlines.
  • on the weekend you keep getting into the office to be able to keep up with deadlines you have moved already three times.
  • your list of tasks keeps getting longer and longer and to handle it you only deliver the bare essentials of each deliverable. Much less than you planned to deliver. And much less creative than you ususally could.
  • with friends, partner or family you realize you don’t have anything interesting to tell anymore apart from the projects you are working on or the latest gossip about your colleagues.

But deep in your heart you know. Life is all about sharing. Sharing your time with yourself. With your family. With your friends. Caring for them and being cared for. It’s not about how many clients you made happy in your life or how many deadlines you could meet.

I’ll try to stay passionate about what I do and still have a life. A second life (or is it the first one?) next to my job. A life that is full with love for the people I really care about.

And there’s always going to be areas that are neither work nor life but something inbetween. I love that space inbetween. It’s essential and tells me, that I love both my lifes.

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