- Garrett Hughes
In our fast-paced world, and particularly in the tech industry, we grapple with the concept of work-life balance. Ironically, although the terms suggest a harmonious equilibrium, our interpretation often presents ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ as two players locked in a relentless battle – a Player vs. Player scenario. In this competitive dynamic, each player vies for our time, energy, and commitment. The implication is that these players are in a zero-sum game. When one is doing well, the other is left for dead. However, this perspective may not be as clear-cut or beneficial as it appears. With work from home still consuming most of the industry, is it not time to challenge this perception and redefine work-life balance?
The traditional PvP mindset and its pitfalls
The traditional PvP mindset posits ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ as distinct, often conflicting arenas, similar to how two players in a video game might compete for victory. It subtly encourages a belief that success in one realm comes at the expense of the other. This perspective can give rise to a cycle of guilt and stress, wherein success in the workplace might equate to neglect at home and vice versa. This constant tug-of-war between professional achievements and personal fulfillment can lead to a sense of imbalance, a struggle to find satisfaction, and, potentially, burnout.
Challenging the PvP perception
Is the contentious PvP struggle a necessary component of our existence, or is it a culturally instilled narrative we’ve accepted without question? Challenging this perception and re-evaluating our understanding of work and life is crucial. The first step is to reframe these not as competitors in an arena but as cooperative elements that should harmoniously coexist within our lives. The dichotomy between ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ is not inherently adversarial; it’s a construct we’ve created and one we can deconstruct to suit a more holistic well-being of ourselves.
A new paradigm - cooperative success
In contrast, Player vs. Environment (PvE), another concept from gaming where a player collaborates with others to overcome environmental challenges, may offer a more fitting metaphor for work-life balance. Imagine a different scenario where work-life balance isn’t a zero-sum game but a cooperative endeavor – a PvE scenario. In this revised scenario, ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ collaborate for holistic success against your personal world. Rather than focusing on ‘losing’ or ‘winning’ in one sphere, the goal is to integrate these critical aspects of our lives to achieve overall fulfillment. This leads to a diversification of your life portfolio. The big paradigm shift for me was this new concept of a “workcation” - where you integrate work and leisure (usually a trip) to be more productive. The thought of traveling somewhere new while still working led to almost a new, renewed outlook on the imbalance I had at home. If you can - I recommend booking a Wander or something similar and spending time reflecting on how your work and life are working together. This shift in perspective promotes personal and professional life alignment, helping to achieve harmony rather than fostering competition.
Embracing this PvE (cooperative) vs. PvP (competitive) mindset necessitates a paradigm shift, one that fosters a healthier, more balanced approach to our daily lives. Instead of feeling pulled between work and personal life, we can strive for a more seamless integration of the two. This approach encourages well-being, satisfaction, and a more fulfilling life overall. Such a redefinition of work-life balance may be challenging; however, by challenging the established PvP mindset, we take a crucial step toward fostering a more harmonious and fulfilling personal and professional life.
The notion of work-life balance as an intense PvP battle doesn’t necessarily have to dictate our lives. The key lies in rethinking the rules of the game, redefining the players, and shifting towards a more cooperative, balanced approach. It’s time to challenge the status quo and consider a new narrative – one where ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ can indeed coexist peacefully and productively, fostering a well-rounded, satisfying life.