Effective Communication

Finding Work Life Balance When You Work For An Overachiever

work life balance

Recently, Ivy Exec’s Chief Content Editor, Gayle Rigione, shared her thoughts on how you can find work life balance when  you work for a “Dragon Boss”.

I can relate to working for a “Dragon Boss.” Not so much because I ever did, but because I was a “Dragon Boss” in my day – long ago before 3 kids, a live-in mother-in-law, a dog and a house in the suburbs far, far, far away from NYC forced me to re-prioritize. In my Dragon Boss days I was 125% committed to my company, my boss (who was the CEO), and delivering versus objectives – flawlessly. Young professionals with few external “distractions” fared best on my analyst team since our success demanded single minded purpose.

I was transitioning out of my all consuming job and had identified my successor – a talented finance professional who was a mom with two children. I remember her leaving at 5 or 6 PM her first week on the job. Here was the career building opportunity of a life time and she was leaving “early”????? She would make dinner for her children, help them with homework and then work until 1 AM to stay on top of the work load. She was a consummate professional. Work/life balance? I didn’t get it. Then….

…I get it now. I recently returned to the work force after a prolonged hiatus to raise a family. I love my new job, but now I’m the one dashing out the door early when the rest of the office is in full swing, swallowing guilt over the early departure because I have a long commute home, and children to feed and tuck in for the night. I am grateful I don’t work for “old me.”

If a work/life balance is important to you, necessary for you, here are some must do’s to manage your “Dragon Boss’s” expectations:

  1. Before you take a job, be totally honest with your prospective boss about the hours you are available to work and stick to them.
  2. Make every minute at the office count. Minimize the chit chat. Carry in lunch, if you can. Try to work with maximum efficiency. Every day.
  3. Make every minute of your commute count, too, if you can. If you take public transit, reply to emails, organize your day’s work and tomorrow’s work, catch up on paperwork from home so you can be 100% present for your family when you are home. If you are driving, and can safely do so, use that time to return phone calls, and think through your game plan for the next day.
  4. Never over promise, even if you are by nature an overachiever and believe you CAN deliver. And,
  5. Just try your best each and every day.

About the Author

Gayle Rigione is Ivy Exec’s Chief Community Development Officer. Gayle spent 15 years in diverse relationship management and senior management roles at MasterCard International, Arthur Andersen Strategic Services, and Bankers Trust Company. She earned her MBA from Columbia.