Opinion | Your Say

Striking the work-life balance

Is it truly possible to balance your personal life with your work life? Is the personal life of an employee bound to be sidelined if he or she wants to climb up the corporate ladder? This week, we debate whether the work-life balance is anything more than jargon. Post your comments on our Facebook page, ‘Gulf News Al Nisr Publishing UAE’ or tell us at readers@gulfnews.com

  • Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor
  • Published: 14:43 July 20, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

12:04 Gulf News: Is it truly possible to balance your work life and personal life in today’s world?
12:06 Anureet Kaur: I think it is. For example, we have a family business and my mum goes to office every single day but always fulfils all her duties. I wonder how she does it all together but she’s been doing it successfully for several years. And for celebrity role models, we can definitely take the example of Michelle Obama. She supports her husband in his political campaigns, manages to take holidays and write books on gardening as well. So, I think if you have the will and passion, you can pull it off!

12:07 Fatima Khan: Instead of wallowing in self pity or feeling guilty for spending time away from family, one must organise their life such that they can have it all. My mum is a school teacher, work that never really ends. She has to bring her work home but it has never made her compromise on “our” time.

12:09 Apoorva Arya: It is possible in most cases. My aunt, who works as a teacher, manages her job pretty well and has a great social life and she also completes her chores. If you manage your time well, it most certainly is possible!

12:10 Fatima Khan: I am studying in a medical school. People have warned me time and again that doctors have a long, busy schedule that revolves around the hospital and their patients and that marrying a doctor is one of the worst choices to make. My take is – I have seen others before me lead a happy, fulfilling life and I will do the same if not better.

12:15 Gulf News: The feminist belief that working women can have it all is nothing but a false hope.

12:15 Fatima Khan: No. Women are the ones under the radar. They are under pressure to perform better or strike the balance but it is not so difficult for them. The people who have to leave their homes to earn a living ... theirs is a different story. Sometimes, they see their children after such long gaps that it seems like their children have to re-introduce themselves to their father.

12:17 Apoorva Arya: Yes, that is kind of accepted as a “universal truth” by some, even though I do not agree with it. In many countries and societies, women are still considered housekeepers. It becomes difficult for them to have a professional and social life as well as look after their homes, yet many still manage to do it.

12:17 Anureet Kaur: I think it depends from family to family. I have read about so many successful women stories in Gulf News itself where they talk about how passionate they are with work... no wonder we see a great percentage of women workforce in the UAE itself. I think it could be because of the fact that a lot of women are either bored of their household work or want to do something challenging.

12:17 Fatima Khan: Women are still chasing a mirage, because even if they are not scrutinised by their husband or their immediate family, they are under the collective scrutiny of society – the unrelenting society that still strongly holds on to the myth that working women can never become good mothers.

12:18 Do you think the financial independence gained by living a work-oriented life is a fair price to pay for lesser family time?

12:20 Fatima Khan: In some cases, personal lives have improved after they gained financial independence. To some extent one has to accept that the financial independence gained by living a work-oriented life is a fair price to pay for lesser family time. Financial independence brings with it a whole lot of benefits. The most important being improved self-esteem. And self-esteem has a major role to play in improving one’s personal life.

12:20 Apoorva Arya: There are many cases where I feel that the financial gains are a sufficient price to pay for lesser family time. If the family of the employee is co-operative, then they may be able to strike a balance between their work and personal lives.

12:22 Anureet Kaur: When we talk about financial independence, we need to be careful with what kind of profession we are talking about. With doctors or lawyers, there is certainly a financial incentive and that’s the reason why women would want to be educated and work. But on the other hand, many women may also work because they feel bored at home and want to try out something creative, like being the head of a voluntary club or starting a non-governmental organisation.

12:23 Gulf News: Until managers change the perception that working for long hours leads to productivity, employees will never be able to balance their work and personal lives.

12:25 Fatima Khan: To a certain extent, yes. Until managers change the perception that working for long hours leads to productivity, employees will never be able to balance their work and personal lives. Even the media portrays an ambitious person as someone who has no time for family. This mindset has to change and for that one has to strike at some very deep-rooted beliefs.

12:27 Anureet Kaur: A lot of corporations pressurise their employers to achieve targets and I think that’s where the problem lies. Because when work become nightmare, you can either quit it or fail to fulfil your household duties. I think what can be done is to encourage women to enjoy their work. Because once they do, they will be less stressed and would come back home happy, doing their household duties and spending time with their families.

12:29 Fatima Khan: I do not think one can blame the wind for not sailing in the right direction. Instead, one has to adjust their sails.

- Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor

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