Being a Star - Either Put In More Hours Than Others, or Start Eliminating Stuff (But Stop Whining)...
Why I Work Where I Do...(and on a related note, the launch of DAXKOnation)

HR: The Perfect Choice to Defend Talent From Work/Life Balance Issues...

I posted yesterday on the work ethic required to be a star, and more importantly, the fact that I continue to run into super sharp people who say they want to be stars, but won't put in the time to outwork others and are outraged/miffed when told that's what it takes.  Bottom line - if you want to be the Bono (U2) of your field, you probably shouldn't think leaving or checking out at 4:55 is your god-given right.

Tim Sacket commented with this, which I thought was significant enough to call for a post of its own:

"Interesting that as HR Pros, we are suppose to be the work-life balance gatekeepers for our organizations - yet the data shows superstars probably aren't theFrasier%20Crane most balanced individuals, and as HR Pros we are suppose to be developing the most talented organization we can."

Which brings me to the question of the day:  "Is HR expected to defend organizational talent from work-life encroachment issues?"  I think the mindset of most organizations is yes, mainly because employee satisfaction as measured by positive engagement scores or crappy turnover stats is usually calculated by the HR department.  Additionally, if the gal you work for is a slave-driver, who you gonna call with your employee relations issue?  Accounting?  The skip-level manager?  I don't think so...

If you're having job problems, I feel bad for you son.... But here's the deal if you've got a work-life balance issue and you think I can solve it as your HR pro:

1.  Like Frasier Crane, I'm listening.  Good HR pros will listen a lot just to figure out what makes you tick.  I'll help if I can, but the answer probably lies at the intersection of your goals, outside of work life and your personal drive. 

2.  I know my organization needs good 9 to 5 people.  We just can't afford to have nothing but 9 to 5 people.

3.  It's OK for you to be one of those 9 to 5 people.  Just know that if we've reached our quota of 9 to 5 people (good thing for you that that quota hasn't really been firmed up as of yet), things might start feeling like a TV knock off of "Survivor".

4.  It's problematic for you to want to be a star and have work/life balance.  Just ask my buddy Gladwell (not Rockwell).

5.  You have to be ready for the tough love: You may need a new manager, a new job, or a new company.

Bottom line?  When it comes to work/life balance issues, HR pros are therapists.  We listen, and if Mommy didn't love you, we empathize.  The best HR pros will give you the real deal and if necessary, tell you you're accountable for finding a balance that works for you - and the manager, company and family you work for.

We listen.  You choose.  Next Caller...




Kris -
completely on target! I am not sure where the loss happened with the old mantra "if you want to win or get to the top, you have to work harder, or be smarter or both" and working harder typically means longer hours, certainly some times. I wonder if the everybody wins a trophy craziness is to blame the words of Syndrome (from the incredibles) "... so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone's super-- no one will be."


Jon Ingham

Provocative post, Kris.

Of course, worklife balance isn't just, or even, about leaving work at 5.00.

And a company of stars isn't necessarily a productive company.

But in general, you make some great and very important points.


Tim Sackett

KD -

I think some of the confusion comes from those seeing "current" stars, now having balance, going "see, they are the star and they are leaving at 3pm to go play golf" - not realizing (or realizing, but not willing to admit) the time and effort that went into getting to that position.

We have an instant gratification society, who feels I can step into any profession and be the star - without the trials and tribulations that it takes to gain the experience and expertise to be that star.

Work/Life Balance is different for everyone. If you want to be a stay-at-home Dad, but have to work to actually have money to pay bills. Your balance paradigm is probably more geared towards 9 to 5'er. So, have enough self-insight to know you are making a personal balance choice not to be the star at work. But don't argue you can be the all-star Dad/Coach, Superstar employee, Deacon of your Church, greatest Spouse on the face of the earth, etc. - You can't. You're out of balance - and out of touch with reality.

Great Post, again.

Mark Cook

HR being the gatekeeper for work/life encroachment is one of those things that make us ponder the fate of HR. I'm with Kris 100%. I'll tell you what you need to do to be a superstar, and I'll try to give you guidance based on what you tell me, but I'm not going to lower the bar for you.

Big John

How can you be an effective executive/HR Pro while neglecting your family, health, etc. in pursuit of becoming an HR superstar? I believe that if you're consistently working these 10-12 hour days that you tout as being the requirement to success in business, you will soon see your family and health crumble beneath you. There needs to be balance.
If your sole goal in life is to be a superstar business person, then go ahead and do it and watch your legacy die as soon as you walk out the door in retirement and realize it was all for nothing. You’re working towards something that will not last. The reason I work is to provide a good life for me and my family and I do it well because that is my motivation.
I work next to many of these so-called 9 to 9 superstars. Much of their time is spent complaining about how little time they have to take care of personal matters, handling personal matters at work, and wasting time trying to create a personal life among their co-workers.
It always has and always will be a trade off. Success created from an imbalanced life is only temporary. The only true success you can have is from creating a well balanced life.

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