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work life fit vs. work life balance

Work Life Fit or Work Life Balance?

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is the intersection between work and life. The past couple of months have been very busy for me from a work perspective. As you may remember, I moved down to Virginia as a result of getting a new job. At my new company, I hear a lot about work life fit as opposed to work life balance.

As someone who has an overachieving, type A personality, I often find myself engrossed in work and don’t always take a second to step back and breathe. Now that things are calming down at work, I’m taking some time to think over how my life and work are meshing together.

Work life fit vs. balance

At a high level, two major philosophies of work life interaction are work life fit and work life balance.

Work life fit is commonly associated with:

  • Finding the right fit between work and personal priorities
  • Actively managing your priorities in a way that works for you and your job
  • Embracing flexibility and give and take between work and life

Work life balance is commonly associated with:

  • Finding harmony between your work life and the rest of your life
  • Providing equal attention to both work and life
  • Having it all

These are high level definitions but hopefully what is clear is that one aims to achieve a balance (which implies a 50-50 division of attention) while the other aims to fit work and life together in a way that works best for the person at a given time.

What does work life fit look like?

I’m not sure what sounds like a better option to you, but for me, I want to strive for a work life fit. The ultimate work life fit looks different for everyone.

Right now, the following things are important to me:

  • Aggressively pursuing my financial goals
  • Focusing on my physical health and fitness
  • Socializing with friends and family
  • Giving my pets the attention and care that they need
  • Building my professional network in the DC metro area
  • Pursuing my career goals

So, what does work life fit look like to me in light of these priorities?

  • Compensation that includes health insurance and retirement benefits, and affords me the ability to pursue my savings and student loan goals
  • Being able to set aside time to work out (before and after work) and go to vet/doctor/dentist appointments (any time within reason, including work hours)
  • Having the ability to commit to and actually follow through with social outings
  • Partaking in learning and networking events as part of my work duties
  • Recharging periodically

At this time in my life, it’s obviously important for me to find harmony between the two, but I don’t expect that I’ll ever really balance work with life equally on a consistent basis. Some weeks, I might spend more time focusing on work. Other weeks, I might spend more time focusing on other parts of my life. Overtime, with appropriate give and take, I think it evens out.

Creating a better work life fit

In looking at what it means to have a work life fit and looking at what it means to me specifically, I don’t think I’m doing to shabbily in the work life fit department. I’m happy with my compensation, I’ve had to make relatively few sacrifices in terms of socializing and other personal things, and my work schedule is fairly flexible.

However, I think there are some ways that I can make work life fit more of a priority for myself:

  • Scheduling appointments in a timely matter – My lack of appointment-going is my own creation. I did manage to go to the doctor early this year, but there are a number of other appointments that I need to stop procrastinating and just schedule them.
  • Taking advantage of periods where it is “easier” to take time off – Due to the project-based nature of my work, it sometimes isn’t feasible to take a lot of time during certain periods of time. I need to better identify slow periods and plan my time off ahead of time.
  • Working out in the morning – I have always known that I’m more likely to exercise if I do it before work. I need to be more consistent in carving out time for exercise.
  • Actively seeking out meetups and learning opportunities – We receive notice of different learning and networking events through work, but I need to make more of an effort to seek them out on my own.

I have a plan! Work life fit will be mine in no time. Now, if it were only that easy.

What do you want: work life fit or work life balance? How do you go about achieving it?

My Working Remotely From Home CoWorker is Stella the Boston Terrier

20 Initial Impressions of Working Remotely from Home

The last month has been chock full of life transitions for me. I moved. And it’s been quite the challenge to combine two households. I also successfully ended my long distance relationship. By reducing the distance! And, finally, I also began working remotely from home for my current employer.

Overall, working remotely has been great so far! But I definitely have some thoughts and initial impressions that I’d like to share. I’m sure my feelings will change and adapt as I move deeper into the belly of this thing we call remote work. But for now, here are my thoughts.

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Career, Making Money, Money

Know Your Worth: How to Look Up Salary Information

You work hard for your money. So you should be paid what you are worth! Also, you’re fabulous.

While obviously you should be paid what you are worth, you may or may not be currently paid what you should be (let’s also take a moment to remember that equal pay isn’t a “thing” yet). The first step toward making sure you are paid fair compensation is to actually be knowledgable about what average salaries are like for people in your profession with your level of education and experience. To find this out, you need to start looking up salary information.

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Headset is key in learning how to take a conference call like a boss.

How to Take a Conference Call Like a Boss (Even When You’re Not the Boss)

For my day job, I spend a lot of the time on various calls throughout the day. I could be talking with a client, I could be talking with my coworkers, or I could simply be listening in on a call. No matter the flavor, I’m on the phone a lot.

During my (endless) hours on the phone, I sometimes forget that not everyone’s jobs require them to be on the phone as much as mine does. And thus, I forget that how to take a conference call is not a skill everyone automatically has.

Good news! I’ve decided to share the wealth! Regardless if you are on the phone constantly, occasionally  or never while at work, the following tips on how to take a conference call should serve you well.

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Professional Wardrobe Essentials

5 Professional Wardrobe Essentials for Women

If you work in a professional office environment, you may find that work clothes, or as fancy people say, your “professional wardrobe” constitutes a pretty big expense. You’ll likely feel the blow to your wallet whether you’ve been working for a while or you are just starting out. However, if you’re just coming out of undergrad or grad school, you probably feel the blow even more.  Even without the cost, you may not even be clear on where you should start or what you should buy first.

In the sea of options that are available, make sure you stock up on the essentials first. Here are five professional wardrobe essentials that you should acquire before anything else.

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Person Listening to Music or Podcast
Career, Life

How to Be Productive While Commuting by Train

If you live in a metro area, chances are that you spend a portion of your day commuting.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, WNYC has determined that the average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes. Now, I’m sure you’re saying that’s not too bad. Because it’s not. However, if you’re living in a larger metropolitan area, it’s likely that your average commute time will be much longer.

A benefit of living in a metro area is that although you may have a long commute, you may not have to be driving the entire way. If you live in a city with a good public transportation system, you may have the luxury of being able to take the train to work. While the train may not be the most ideal place to get things done, it holds a lot of potential, especially when you know how to be productive while commuting.

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Conference Swag

How to Make the Most Out of a Conference

Conferences are a big investment for all of those involved. You (the attendee), your employer who may be footing the bill, the speaker’s who have prepared talks and workshops, the conference organizers, and all of the other attendees. Conferences often last several days, all time that you’re taking away from your regular job duties. Not only are conferences time investments, they can also be fairly large monetary investments. If the conference is in another city, you’ll need to travel there and stay in a hotel. Conference registration fees can be downright outrageous. And don’t forget any incidentals that you incur along the way. With such a big investment, it’s important to make the most out of a conference.

This past week, I traveled to the IA Summit in Baltimore, MD. A lover of conferences, I want to share with you some tips and tricks that I typically employ in order to make the most out of a conference.

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Equal Pay Day
Career, Making Money, Money

Equal Pay Day: It’s Just the Beginning

Happy Equal Pay Day!

Well, I guess I take that back. It’s not really a day you celebrate. Not sure what Equal Pay Day is? It’s the day that women would have had to work until in the new year to in order to match the pay that men received (on average) in the previous calendar year.

It’s April, right? We’re over a quarter of the way into the year! Yup. On average, women make $.77 for every $1 that men make. It’s a sad, but true, reality.

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Source: kennymatic

Planning a Career Path in Four Easy Steps

Planning a career path can be a tricky game. Some people have it all figured out. They know exactly what they’re doing and where they’re going – especially when it comes to planning their career. As the Onion reminds us, there are plenty of 20- and 30-somethings out there who are achieving life milestones all the time and with no end in sight. So obnoxious, right? What about the rest of us?

I hate to break it to you, but if you want to achieve those life milestones–getting a promotion, getting married, having a baby–you need to work for them and you need to plan for them, especially when they relate to your career. Things can fall into your lap, but, more often than not, they require work on your part. As Sheryl Sandberg highlights in her new book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, promotions are not granted to us like tiaras. They are not daintily placed on our heads while we lean back and take it all in. On the converse, we must lean in and work our way towards those goals, even when it means facing unknown territory.

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Career, Life, Money, Travel

Blogs to Follow About Life, Career, Money and Travel

Just about every week around here, I share some good reads from around the Internets. You might have noticed that while I aim for variety, there are a few blogs or resources that I pull from often. These standbys are what I go to for my fix of life, career, money and travel. I figured I would share the wealth and give you the skinny on what I’m reading day after day.

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