Over the past decade or so, “work/-life balance” has become a bit of a buzz phrase as workers try to better accommodate their family lives, interests, hobbies, etc., while still putting food on the table. While this may seem like a recent phenomenon, a www.ere.net article titled “Work/Life Balance and Labor Day” examines how integrating work with other aspects of life used to be a natural way of doing things and how the different generations currently working are bringing that philosophy back.
According to the article, work and family life were intermingled to the point that there was little, if any, separation between the two. Families worked side-by-side in the fields, small shops, bazaars, and in the home. It’s only been within the last century that this has changed. As work moved away from the farm and family-owned shops and into the factories and offices, work became something that was done away from the home and that did not involve the family.
Now it all seems to be coming full circle as workers are finding ways to turn their interests and passions into work they can do from home as little or as much as they want. Generation Y and the Baby Boomers are leading this shift, according to the article. Millennials, as members of Generation Y are often referred, will often work non-stop for days on something they are passionate about and then barely work at all for awhile. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are looking for ways turn “hobbies” into second careers they can do on a consulting basis, either in person or virtually from home.
Contracting is a great way to help both generations achieve their work/life balance. For Millennials, contracting allows them to work hot and heavy on a project they are passionate about for a short time and then take some time off before starting a new contract assignment. And as FoxHire reported in a previous blog post, this is a great time for Baby Boomers to find consulting jobs as companies find themselves unprepared for sudden executive departures and need the short-term expertise of retired high-level executives to fill the gap. As contracting becomes more popular, we may find that work/life balance is a regular way of life, not just a buzz phrase.