6 Ways Work Imitates Life

March 22, 2016

Today’s blog features guest blogger Kristin Newkirk giving some insight into the humorous side of "work/life balance". Kristin is the Sales Administrator and Office Manager for Thing Magic, a division of Trimble Navigation.

Good morning, afternoon, night, or whenever it is wherever you are! For a lot of you, you might be doing work outside traditional office hours, burning the midnight oil to meet deadlines or just take advantage of quiet time outside of the office to get a little work done. That kind of “always on” mentality has led to a lot of talk about work/life balance, but stop and think: are the WORK and LIFE halves of your life really so different?

As a Sales Administrator and Office Manager by day and a single mom by day and night, I have to laugh at how many of the demands of my job are similar to the demands of my home. What is it we’re trying to balance, exactly? On any given day, the average worker fills a ton of roles, and it might surprise you how close they are to roles you play at home, too.

The Package Tracker: You spend all day at work wondering if the products you’re shipping to your customer are going to get there in time to satisfy that customer’s needs… only to go home and obsessively track the present you ordered online, hoping it arrives in time for the party you’re having this weekend.

The Master Scheduler: Remember the last day you had that was jam-packed with meetings? From your own schedule to your boss’s schedule to your client’s schedule, you spent all day juggling overlapping meetings and unexpected conflicts. What a relief to go home, right? Then it’s time for parent-teacher meetings, after-school activities, pickups, drop-offs, and, oh wait… homework?!

The Firefighter: In my line of work, a lot of fires pop up. A customer’s product has an issue under warranty, it’s on us to make it right, and make it right fast. Someone’s on vacation and an emergency comes up that we need to cover them for? Make it work. The fires don’t stop when you leave work, either, as anyone can tell you who’s ever gotten the flu, had a flat tire, or had their toilet spring a leak. (Please, no!)

The Eternal Student: To be the best at what you do, no matter what your career is, you have to keep learning. New technology, new processes, new names and faces. It’s a constant challenge that keeps me sharp and on my toes. How’s it looking over on the homefront? Still learning and growing: community involvement, volunteering, and learning alongside your kids and family as they pick up new activities, sports and skills (or trying to help them with their homework) is just another way you’re constantly learning. And you thought you’d escaped your days of studying!

The Budget Juggler: I don’t think anyone’s under any misconceptions about this one. No matter how much you juggle your line items at work to make sure everyone can get their job done with the supplies and support they need, you spend at least twice that much time poring over your own bills at home to see if you can finally take that vacation this year or not.

The Patron Saint of Patience: This is where practice makes perfect. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Keep your cool. Sure, that guy (or gal) is late to the meeting for the twentieth time, and it’s almost a concrete certainty someone’s going to expect to you have something done that you had never even heard of until five minutes ago, but you’ve got this under control. After all, that’s your job. And… it’s your life, too. Because you’ve long since stopped blowing your stack when the socks manage to make it right next to the hamper but not in it (against all rules of physics and probability), or when the dishes don’t get done, or when your mailman has put your paycheck in your neighbor’s mailbox again. You’re calm, you’re collected… right there’s your work/life balance.

I’m sure there are a ton of other roles I play both at work and at home (court jester, anyone?) but these are just a few that make me think twice about what work/life balance really means. What roles do you play both at home and at work?

Kristin Newkirk is the Sales Administrator and Office Manager for Trimble Navigations' ThingMagic Division, specializing in RFID technology.  In the past, she has held many positions at Adobe, Motorola, Nokia Siemens & Polycom.  The single mother of an 18-year-old and a 9-year-old, she has a lot to juggle and is thinking of both personal and professional life during her waking hours.  When she's not juggling, she enjoys vegetable gardening in the spring and summer, making crafts for Christmas gifts, reading and hiking.

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