There is no question being asked more often than how I manage my work/life balance. Every time someone asks me that question I struggle with a straight answer.
For me the concept of work/life balance is bullshit. The fact that we call it work/life balance automatically implies that one of the two is negative and we need to balance it with the other.
It usually implies that you have work on the evil side, and life on the other. It makes it look like these two things are competing for your attention and well being.
But work and life are not separate. They are the same, there is only one thing, it’s called LIFE. Work is part of my life, it’s not competing against it.
Family is important, friends are important. But work is a huge part of who I am as a person. I believe work is one of the most important things in ones life.
I believe that work is the reason why I get up in the morning. It’s what I love to do with most of my days.
Now some might say I’m speaking from a privileged place because I can decide what I want to work on every day. And maybe yes, that might be true to some extend, but it wasn’t true a couple years ago.
I strongly believe that every person can make a living doing something they love. And often enough, it’s more of a mindset to become happy with your work. Often it’s not the work that sucks, but how we see it.
I remember, many years ago I asked a “Waste Collector” on the street what happened that he has to work in this job? (notice how my question was with negative assumptions in the first place)
With a smile on his face he replied. “I’ve been working as a Garbage Guy for more than 20 years now, I love this job and would never trade it for anything else.”
Completely shocked I asked him why. “You know, I can be outside every day and I have the honor to clean up the city. It’s like a computer game every day, street after street, faster than the other garbage guys.”
I loved his answer, and from that day on I stopped assuming that every waste collector in the city must hate their job. It gave me a different perspective on what work can mean.
Because ultimately, it’s only “work” if you don’t like it. If you love doing what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. And yes, you still need balance, because you need balance with everything yo do. For the same reason you can’t just eat only Nutella everyday. (trust me, I tried it)
But what you don’t need is life/work balance, because if you do, you might need to make some drastic changes with either one of them.
And this either means changing your job (yes you can) or simply looking at your job from a different perspective. Maybe you don’t like your job because society tells you it’s cool to hate what you do from Monday to Friday.
I mean, just look at how much society celebrates Fridays and hates Mondays, but shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Imagine we would all love what we do so much, we would be all sad every Friday because it would take us away from something we love doing.
And I’m not saying there is something wrong with taking a break from any activity, but just the way we as society “hate” Mondays is what’s so surprising to me.
If I could decide, on Mondays we should all celebrate because the world is awake again. We can work, get some shit done and do what we love.
I love Mondays.
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Tobias is a Designer & Maker + Co-Founder of Semplice, a new portfolio platform for designers. Also host of the show NTMY — Previously Art Director & Design Lead at Spotify & Board of Directors AIGA New York.