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When You’re the Boss, You Don’t Beg For Work Life Balance. You Make It So.

by Carolyn Elefant on February 14, 2010 · 6 comments

in Work Life Balance, Work/Life Balance & Women

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Like every parent on the planet, I’ve told my daughters more times than I can remember some variation of the following:

Yes, you can eat chocolate for dinner or stay up until three am or leave orange peels on the floor or [fill in the blank] when you have your own place and pay your own bills.  But so long as you’re living in this house under my roof, I make the rules.

It’s surprising, then how quickly we parents who practice forget our own advice.  We take a job at a law firm, and suddenly find ourselves resentful that the boss wants us to work 60 hours a week or finish a project for a client over the weekend.  And so, like my daughters (and most kids, I imagine) we grouse or complain or beg for exceptions instead of growing up and creating a job where we can be the boss and make our own rules.

I was reminded of the benefits of being in charge after reading in the New York Times (2/12/10) about how President Obama gives priority to certain inviolable family events, like his daughters’ band recitals, sports games, parent-teacher conferences and family meals.  From the article:

[Obama] knocks off work at 6 p.m. each evening to have dinner with his family, and has given his schedulers strict instructions that, if he must have night-time activities, they are to take place after 8 p.m. That includes matters of war; in November, as the commander in chief wrestled with sending more troops to Afghanistan, he called an 8 p.m. meeting of his national security team, in deference to his role as father in chief.

If the President of the United States can set aside national issues to make time for his kids, there’s no reason why you can’t set your own priorities as well.  That is, if you’re willing to grow up and be the boss.

If you’re not in a position to leave your day job just yet, learn more about the part time practice option at my upcoming teleseminar this Thursday February 18, 2010 with Julie Tower-Pierce.  Register here.  I’m also speaking on the nuts and bolts of starting a practice at American University, Washington College of Law, on Tuesday February 16, 2010 at noon.

  • http://halosecretarialservices.com Laurie

    So true Carolyn!!
    I have had past colleagues tell me I’m “lucky” I can set my own schedule now that I’m self-employed. I say that it’s just that I’m willing to take the risks that come with self-employment in order to control my life better. Working in a lawfirm was not so good for that!

  • http://halosecretarialservices.com Laurie

    So true Carolyn!!
    I have had past colleagues tell me I’m “lucky” I can set my own schedule now that I’m self-employed. I say that it’s just that I’m willing to take the risks that come with self-employment in order to control my life better. Working in a lawfirm was not so good for that!

  • http://www.californialawyerswanted.com eduardo ramirez

    “…the essence of being successful as an entrepreneur is building something that “makes meaning”. Meaning is not about money, power, or prestige. It’s not even about creating a fun place to work. Among the meanings of “meaning” are to:
    Make the world a better place.
    Increase the quality of life.
    Right a terrible wrong.
    Prevent the end of something good.
    —Guy Kawasaki’s book “The Art of the Start”
    Is it possible to make this type of meaining in a big law firm?

  • http://www.californialawyerswanted.com eduardo ramirez

    “…the essence of being successful as an entrepreneur is building something that “makes meaning”. Meaning is not about money, power, or prestige. It’s not even about creating a fun place to work. Among the meanings of “meaning” are to:
    Make the world a better place.
    Increase the quality of life.
    Right a terrible wrong.
    Prevent the end of something good.
    —Guy Kawasaki’s book “The Art of the Start”
    Is it possible to make this type of meaining in a big law firm?

  • http://www.gaworkerscomplaw.com Michael Moebes, Esq.

    I almost always “break” for dinner with my family in the evenings before resuming working for several hours after the “3 and under” crowd goes to bed. Being solo eliminates the need for a perceived mandate of evening “face time” at work.

  • http://www.gaworkerscomplaw.com Michael Moebes, Esq.

    I almost always “break” for dinner with my family in the evenings before resuming working for several hours after the “3 and under” crowd goes to bed. Being solo eliminates the need for a perceived mandate of evening “face time” at work.

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