Well said. Perhaps my favorite line was this, “If you life is out of balance because you have a crappy job, change jobs.” I agree that nearly all of the work/life balance conversation is horribly misinformed, misdirected and largely irrelevant. A lot of it, as you said, is about making the decision to change the things that you can change, rather than complaining about the stuff that you might not be able to change.
In addition to the individual responsibility and free choice involved, I do think there is an opportunity for employers to do a better job of supporting their employees. It is not an obligation, but a real opportunity to have a more attractive and engaging culture. I don’t think organizations can actually do much to provide “balance,” but I do think that organizations could support more fluidity and flexibility for their employees and how they create value. And this is a philosophy, not a program.
At the heart of this issue is an organizations ability to manage for results instead of activity, rather than the perks it can provide. Hire the right employees, tell them what needs to be done and then get out of the way. Do this, and employees will find their own “balance.” Perks are nice, and can even be important, but they are not necessarily about balance.
When I hear an organization bragging about their commitment to work/life balance because they have dry-cleaning service for their employees, I know that I am listening to someone who does not know much about work, life or balance. I think that approaches such as Results-Only Work Environment are much more effective for this than much of what is done in the name of work/life balance.
Balance is a personal thing, and it will not be provided or created with a program or a perk. Organizations need to set their employees free to do their work and those employees will find whatever balance they need.