The Problem With Work-Life Balance

Out of control. That’s how Sam, a divorced father of two girls and an ambitious professional, describes his life. By day, he manages an IT group for a health-care conglomerate while dreaming of starting his own company. “I feel like I can never get it all done,” says Sam. “I’m constantly distracted. I wish I could be under less stress and pay more attention to my daughters, especially as they’re getting into their teen years, and to my mom, who’s just been diagnosed with early-stage cancer.”

Sam looks down at his desk and shifts in his chair; he is in his home office. I could see only a part of it on the computer screen — we were video-conferencing. His sense of being overwhelmed extended to his professional life. “I’m struggling to find the right partners who can help me develop and market an app I’ve designed that can make it easier for people to track their personal health habits,” he says, leaning forward. “I really believe that this thing can make a difference in people’s lives.”

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Stewart D. Friedman
Stewart D. Friedman, Practice Professor of Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, is the founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program and of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project. He is the author of the national bestselling book, Total Leadership: Be a Better Leaders, have a Richer Life.
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