Life is about change. And one of the things that is changing most nowadays is the relationship between work and life. The era of sharp distinction between the two is over. No longer is it practical or beneficial to view work and your life totally separately. We are seeing less need for work-life balance and more need for work-life merger.
Not only are work and life merging, they are merging for good reasons. Trying to maintain two separate and distinct identities, one for life and one for business, benefits no one. Of course it's important to maintain some psychological distinction between how you make money and how you enjoy the money you make. But other than that, the more you can make your work a lifestyle, the happier you and your family will be.
Today, people want to make friends and do business with real people. The fact that you can get a two-fer by making a new business and social connection simultaneously at a favorite social networking site makes the life-work merger all but inevitable.
As founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, I field email messages and phone calls in astonishing numbers. It is not uncommon for a new member to join IBN, and then ask 2 or 3 questions within an hour of membership activation so they can settle in and find their way around. I (or one of my team members) always answers these emails, usually on the same day. Sometimes, it's easier to call, so I often do that.
Such was the case last week when a new member with a lot of questions joined IBN. After answering about 6 of 7 of her email inquiries within the span of about 48 hours, she emailed this:
Do you ever take a day off?
I wrote back, explaining that all my days are days off. I don't work. I simply set goals and then take steps to achieve them. Because I own and manage a business from my home, my business and life goals are often intertwined.
For example, I may edit and publish a blog post while waiting in the lobby as my daughter takes a dance class. Or I may be at my laptop off and on for 8 hours in one day so I can attend meetings, plan collaborations, process member applications, set up radio shows, and go to a dance recital on the next. None of this is work. It's simply steps I take in order to achieve specific goals, the first of which is to enjoy my life.
More and more, people are looking for ways to merge work and life into a homogeneous whole that helps them enjoy life more. I don't think this spells the end to traditional jobs. However, as fewer and fewer traditional jobs are available, I believe it will eventually be the youngest people in our society who hold most of them. This almost has to happen since middle managers are clearly a dying breed.
Once a young person is trained in how business works, it's a simple and logical step for him or her to “retire” from the traditional work force and start a business as I did. Some will return to traditional work if an offer is appealing enough, but only after they've sold their business and no longer need to work for a living, or have grown their business to the point where they can oversee operations and work; full-time without much trouble. Along the way, their most prolific and intimate relationships will be forged and merged into the integrated whole of their lives.
Question: I know you own a business. I know you own it in part to make a profit. I know you spend hours a day on the phone, in a manufacturing arena and using various social marketing outlets. I know you are busy.
- But do you work?
I cannot wait to see the responses!