Work-Life Balance Is a Tricky Business
Growing up, I was taught you always want to act like you run the business you work for. You want it to be successful, profitable, and have a great reputation. I always have taken that to heart. Yet now as I am getting close to another birthday, I wonder if this belief, which I have shared with my children, is truly worth some of the things I have missed.
I always have been the breadwinner of the family. I have worked hard and taken on extra work and time when needed. For instance, in my lab I had scheduled a day study and my marketing rep called and informed me that he had a physician who wanted to come in for a night study the same day. The physician specifically asked for me to perform the study. I told him I could not do the whole night because I don't do well working 36 hours straight, but I would stay and set up this doctor and start the study. Now, it happens this same day my daughter, who lives in the Midwest, was down for a long weekend. I lost a whole day of my visit with her so I could help my company grow the lab.
My medical director and reading physician also have this strong work ethic. Both men are wonderful. They usually read the sleep studies between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. depending on when they finish hospital rounds. They do not like to leave patients waiting for results and they know there will probably not be any more extra time tomorrow. So they sit up and read the studies, reviewing each epoch, writing out results, signing scripts, and faxing them back to me if necessary at these odd hours.
I can even give you a third example. I have two technicians that have the same belief I do. They have come in on very short notice, on days they thought they would have off and have stayed late when a patient's ride does not show. They never complain. In fact, they always respond the same way, "It's my pleasure to help make this lab a success."
The fact is that all of us have our lives a little out of balance. My goal for the rest of the year is to try and create more balance. I will always feel like this is my business even if I am just an employee. I also will be working harder to respect my employee's free time. It is summer here and they need to enjoy the weather, go on a picnic, and pursue their dreams. And maybe I will even take a little time for myself.