Sunday, March 04, 2007

Finding a balance

Hi, my name is Jason…and I’m a workaholic. Please excuse my taking some liberties here, but for my installment I would like to take a slight departure from the “professional” aspects of our jobs and focus more on the “personal”…or at the very least, how to balance the two.

As some of you may know, my wife and I both work in the same museum—I in Education and she in Development. Four months ago we had our first child. It has been a most joyous time, but we have begun to recognize the strain that being so dedicated to our jobs can take on our “home time”.

This past week has been a prime example. We’re both in the midst of finalizing budgets, preparing for the end of the fiscal/school year, and keeping everything around us moving forward. I had two 10+ hour days in the office, and she had 3. Emails were pouring in all weekend. We found ourselves stretched to the limit to try and fulfill the time-sensitive needs of work and to spend the quality time with our son. Now, to clarify, our son comes first…but we still wonder about how to balance the two.

While my wife and I are still trying to find the answer, how have you managed to balance the professional with the personal? Are there model programs in place at your museums that help you find this balance…or at least support you to find one?


LD/Brownie said...

Not to be negative, but I find many museums don't seem to encourage a balance at all. You're expected to have no problem with staying late, coming in early, or working weekends. I once stayed until 9PM on a Friday and was back there at 8:30 the next morning for a planning session.

It's sad to say, but I think you just have to stand up for yourself and draw your own boundaries. One thing I've started doing is taking all of my comp time. My museum has been overextended and understaffed for its entire history. The only way it'll ever change is if the staff starts to stand up for themselves and stop staying all kinds of extra hours for nothing in return and doing the work of 20 different people.

Anonymous said...

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Amy said...

Congrats on the new baby! We are dealing with this issue as well, as my husband's non-museum job often requires late nights and weekend events during certain seasons. There appear to be many professions for which working beyond 8-5 is the norm. We both work at a University that has offered seminars/lectures on balancing family and work life, although I've been too busy to attend them.

I agree with Id/brownie that you have to draw your own boundaries. I'm curious to know if the pressure to work after hours is more on you or your wife. Is there a gender issue at play here as well? I only ask because I know it is an issue in our family's work/life problem. I am lucky to work at a very supportive museum, as my husband has been less willing to negotiate comp or flex time at his very macho work environment even though he is in a better position to negotiate than I.

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