August 7, 2008

Work-Life Balance or A Drama In Two Acts

Posted in A walk on the "dark side" at 10:56 am by ageorgoulis

Since I have the supreme honor of blogging alongside Robyn while she is on a glorious and much deserved vacation, I thought I would post some musings on the challenge of PR work-life balance. I say challenge especially in light of the fact that I have emailed, text-ed or called Robyn every day of said glorious, much deserved vacation!

The value of our professional is accessibility. Accessibility to the media, to our clients and to our colleagues. This value is wrought with built-in conflicts of interest, namely the interest I have in serving the afore mentioned groups anytime, anyplace, anywhere and the interest I have in getting some sleep, watching Project Runway or…Dlisted!

According to Wikipedia: The expression “work-life balance” was first used in the late 1970s to describe the balance between an individuals’ work and personal life. In the 30+ years since the origination of the term, the concept has become more relevant. We have legislated work-life balance measures in the form of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, yet more people struggle to maintain balance than ever before.

Those in my generation, as Robyn has pointed out before, are tending towards regulating this balance more than our yuppie ‘ME generation’ parents. PR professionals have the added handicap of this pesky accessibility ideal. Call it occupational hazard!

I have conducted interviews from the lawn furniture aisle of Target while juggling a cell phone, two ottomans and a squirmy 3-year-old. I have spent the night in a $50 motel in bizarre areas of town in the hopes of getting just that much more sleep before a 4 a.m. morning live shoot. I have stayed up all night assembling exhibition signage while eating far too much oddly paired room service food and watching bad hotel movies!

However crazy these scenarios, I gladly accept them in return for an office environment which operates as a team, not a marathon race. Many agency workers face the brutal uphill battle of ‘WHO CAN POSSIBLY WORK THE LONGEST HOURS?!’ This is an exercise of waste, and I have vowed never to feel bad about taking a lunch, making a Dr.’s appointment or even [gasp!] taking a vacation.

PR is not only my job, it’s a lifestyle. I sometimes begrudge that fact, but mostly I try and celebrate it. And by celebrate it, I mean…medicate 😉



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