CEO of Me: Creating a Life That Works in the Flexible Job Age
Ellen Kossek and Brenda Lautsch. Pearson/Wharton School, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-13-234999-4
In the always-available age of Blackberries, more and more of even the most accomplished individuals struggle to achieve a balance between the demands of work and personal/family life.
Kossek and Lautsch, professors who have long been studying the success and failure of various flextime work arrangements, have made some interesting discoveries: satisfaction with work/life balance depends less on gender, family situation and occupation than on how people self-manage their careers. Thus the authors have mapped out the most common “flexstyles” and offer practical solutions for drawing the line between work and family to create a better life in both arenas. The book offers self-assessment questionnaires to help readers work out if they are “Integrators, Separators, or Volleyers,” depending on what life role is most important to them, and provides strategies, tips and tools from there. The authors' motivational, encouraging tone is infectious, the advice solid and easy to implement. Frazzled readers may benefit from this helpful and wise approach. (Jan.)
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR
DECLARES MARCH 10TH “REWIRE YOUR LIFE”
Work-Life Balance Expert Calls for Cell-Phones, Blackberries and
Wi-Fi Devices to be Turned Off to REConnect with Friends and Family
Despite the proliferation of wireless communications devices such as cell phones, Blackberries, and laptop computers that were meant to free us from the shackles of our cubicles and enhance our personal and professional lives by allowing us to work from anywhere at anytime...the results are anything but good. According to Dr. Ellen Kossek, professor, researcher and author from Michigan State University, more people than ever are unhappy with their work-life relationships and feel unfulfilled both personally and professionally, even though many are more technologically connected to work and family than ever before.
To draw attention to what she sees as a growing cause of concern , Kossek has declared March 10th to be “Rewire Your Life Day,” where she is asking everyone to turn off their cell phones, Blackberries and laptops and connect with friends and family in more traditional ways.
“I chose March 10th because it is the 132nd anniversary of the first telephone call made by Thomas Edison. That historic achievement helped us connect with people in ways that were previously unimaginable,” she explained. “Today, we take communication for granted and most people are simply not doing a good job of managing the demarcations between their personal and professional lives and suffering because of it. With layoffs increasing, the housing and mortagare crisis making it more difficult to move and/or relocate, and the stock market in turmoil, the stresses of everyday life are higher than they’ve been in quite some time,” she adds. Employees may be afraid to set boundaries between work and home in the face of heightened economic pressures-- potentially increasing conflicts between work and home. Long hours, and accessibility to work is often seen as career commitment. The worsening economy may make it even more difficult for employees to have some rest time from work- a growing problem in this technological age even before the economic downturn.
Kossek’s recent book, “CEO of Me,” identifies these challenges, and suggests that people live their lives as if it were a corporation and manage it by making tough decisions, negotiating and setting goals and objectives, just as a CEO would. “There are times when it must be clear to ourselves and those around us, that we are not to be disturbed so that work or family matters can be attended to; conversely, there will be times when we need to be reachable…but these are conscious choices we make and they must be communicated to ourselves and those around us if we are going to make this flexible lifestyle (flexstyle) work,” Kossek concludes. Kossek and co-author Brenda Lautsch identfies different flexibility lifestyles. Reactors and fusion lovers are the Integrator flexstyle type - individuals who highly blend work and personal life and sometimes lose control by too much blurring. Individuals need to take control of their lives to sometimes separate work and personal life to be able to focus on each in a more meaningful way than constant switching back and forth.