The Question Matters

Are You Willing to Work So That You Can Work to Live?


Texas Rangers (baseball)

It's Time.


I am the master of my schedule.  If an opportunity to spend some extra time with my family comes up, I will often take it.  If the Texas Rangers are playing (hopefully for a while longer) I’ll cut off work a little early to make sure I can catch the game on TV.  If I’m behind on paperwork at home, no big deal.  I’ll just get that done before I start with my work for the day.  Need a long lunch?  OK, I’m not on the clock.  I’ll take an extra 15 minutes and watch a favorite show on DVR.

My work is too often the master of my time.  If the iPhone is in my pocket, I’m always tempted to pick it up even at family activities.  If I’m watching that Texas Rangers game, it may be with my MacBook in my lap dong a little busy work that didn’t get done.  Did I take a longer lunch?  That probably means I’ll close up shop at 10 that night instead of 9:30.

The notion that we can work to live, not live to work is monumental mental shift.  It may be the biggest shift in workforce dynamics since the labor unions a century ago.  In that time, workers stood up for their rights to a decent wage, vacation time, respect in the workplace, and legal force they did not have alone.  Today, workers are standing up for their rights to choose the times they’ll work, how they do that work, and where they do that work.

James Townsend:

For those of us in Generation X and those in the Baby Boomer generation, we’ve been known to say we “live to work” and often connect our self-identification with our job/occupation.  For those in the Millennial generation, they “work to live” and value time with friends, family over time spent at work.  This generation is more likely to tell their boss when they plan to come to work and when they plan to leave, as there are important things to do outside of work – yoga, exercise, movies, etc…Balancing work and life is vitally important to this generation but not as much for the current generation of office managers and organizational leaders.  The challenge for the Millennial employee is understanding and respecting the structure of the organization

I want that balance in my work life, too.  As a business coach with a passion for younger entrepreneurs, I want them to achieve that balance.  And it must be achieved. It won’t happen by brute force or unreasonable demands.  If the under-30 workforce wants work/life balance, it will have to be earned, either by the slow but steady change of large organizations or by the re-invention of the workplace on your own terms, in your own business.

Either way will require a lot of work.


Troy Stirman, Career Coach

Posted in Career,Change,Coaching,Generation Y,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on May 24, 2010
Tags: , , ,

I met Troy Stirman recently at an Abilene Christian University alumni luncheon in north Dallas. I enjoy observing and commenting on the challenges Millennials face as they enter the workplace.  Troy lives in those challenges, coaching college graduates to prepare, enter, and thrive in the early years of their career. I’ll be posting snippets of an email interview I conducted with Troy throughout the week.  Here’s a taste of his perspective on this season in our economy’s workplace:

For the first time in nearly 20 years, America is experiencing an explosive growth rate of new undergraduates entering the marketplace while at the same time enduring a struggling economy that has seen a sustained 10% unemployment rate. Today’s undergraduates are vying for entry-level positions alongside both educated and experienced candidates who may have experienced a layoff.  This puts tremendous pressure on today’s undergraduate students.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I think my generation–Gen X–can be for Gen Y what we wish Boomers had been for us in our careers.  n that vein, I hope that these interviews with Troy will be helpful to Millennials who are looking for a job or to those who know a Millennial who is.  More about Troy:

Troy is a businessman with 20+ years of career experience that includes marketing/sales, professional development/fundraising, professional writing and business coaching.  He currently holds the Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) credential.  In addition to being the career coach for 900+ business and technology undergraduates for Abilene Christian University’s College of Business Administration, he is also a small business owner who assists clients from around the world with their professional writing needs.  His website is: