As a first generation American, it came as a surprise for me to see people in the US work so hard at jobs that seemed to be making them miserable — jobs that literally were driving them to an early grave.
Where my family comes from, work seems to come secondary, or even tertiary to family, friends and quality of life.
Not to say that I came from any sort of slacker roots. Au contraire. I grew up around very driven, successful people. Aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents speaking a minimum of three languages, adorned with Masters Degrees, holding highly coveted jobs — all while surviving a 15-year Civil War.
Approximately 70% of Americans seem to hate their jobs or are regularly disengaged in the workplace. Has this generation of Americans missed the boat when it comes to work-life balance? We’ve all heard “When you truly love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work” and we all know it to be true. We long for it. So how can Americans begin to adopt this seemingly passé attitude and still earn the respect of their peers? It comes down to office culture.
To most in the corporate world, a job is a job and work is what it is. But in advertising, one of the most important determining factors that goes into choosing an agency are the culture and values. Instilling a work-life balance needs to trickle from the top down.
Managers need to lead by example to show that “hard work” and “over work” are not necessarily synonymous, and that employees cannot produce their best work if they are not given adequate time for themselves. This is one of the most important things that supervisors can teach in order to preserve sanity and inspire creativity and growth. Sometimes, you have to leave the office and look up, catch your breadth and take in what’s out there.
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