Balance & Lifestyle / Lifestyle

How a CEO Accomplishes Work-Life Balance

By Marilyn Weinstein

"Marilyn Weistein"Study after study indicates that there is a disparity between the number of CEOs that are male and the number that are female. As recently as 2010, for instance, Fortune reported that only “15 FORTUNE 500 companies are run by women” Oftentimes these studies link a woman’s responsibilities to her family and children as the primary reason for this disparity. Not surprisingly then, family-friendly work policies – flexible hours, jobsharing, increased telecommuting and the like—are commonly cited as solutions for increasing female leadership numbers.

So as one of those women in a position of ownership, the question I am probably asked the most is—how do I find time for my family? How much balance do I have?

So, here’s my secret. Contrary to what the “experts” suggest, I don’t look for ways to make my work more family-friendly. I make my family more work-friendly.

Here are the four steps for anyone else, male or female, who may be interested in achieving my skewed version of balance:

Step One: Admit I like Working. I was raised to curse about work. Work is a four-letter word. Work is just a pay check; your life outside work is what’s important.

I guess this never made sense to me. You go to work each day and spend more waking hours there then you spend anywhere else. Many people meet their spouses at work. They make best friends. Weddings and births are celebrated at work. Deaths and divorces are mourned. Happy hours are shared with coworkers.

Chances are a coworker has seen you cry. Your boss has made you feel the best you’ve felt in weeks and the worse you have felt in your whole life.

That’s an awful lot to experience in an unimportant environment. Clearly, work is a meaningful part of our lives. I admit it’s an important part of who I am, and that I really like to work. I like doing my job well. I admit I like work.

Step Two: No Baiting and Switching. I’ve liked work since before I met my husband. I suppose I looked for a husband who liked that *quality* in me. No baiting and switching. There were no promises of cupcakes that have now been replaced with TV dinners. My husband married a woman who liked to work – and made no bones about,

Step Three: Indoctrinate Them While They’re Young. I have always brought my children to work at an early age—and I means just months after they were born. (In reality, I was also texting and taking business calls from the delivery room, but I don’t recommend that as step three.) My children have been watching Mommy work – attending meetings with me, coloring quietly in my office, or being bounced around in a sling—and complaints have always been minimal. You have to like work first, as that positive energy will rub off on them, and then you can try to make work even more fun and comfortable for your children.

Step Four: Mobility and Multi-tasking Are My Best Friends

The mobile workforce, the virtual workforce, etc—they are all just platitudes. In today’s age, especially thanks to technology, you are expected to work wherever and whenever necessary. It’s a fact of life, so why not embrace it. When it comes to achieving balance, mobility can be your best friend. Important emails need to get out while your at your children’s soccer game? Send ‘em off. Have to take an important call while your on a roadtrip vacation? Play a game of “who can stay silent the longest”, and reward the winner handsomely. My wireless card turns a long car ride (with someone else driving of course) into a long, uninterrupted time of work.

Oh, and yes, you’re right, that may just be me with my laptop out at the hair salon, or balancing an ipad on my lap while getting a pedicure. My motto is, “well, as long as I’m sitting…” So, in a sense, I’ve looked for a stylist and manicurist who are also work-friendly. By doing so, I regain that time for quality time with my family.

I don’t suggest this lifestyle for everyone – I know it causes some women to feel like bad parents, and to experience a sense of guilt. But if you like working, consider ways you can bring your family in on that enjoyment. Embrace these four steps, and you might just effectively achieve that balance without even realizing out.

Marilyn Weinstein is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vivo Inc., and IT consulting and staffing business. At Vivo, Marilyn is responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Marilyn’s background also includes advisement and counsel service to mid and enterprise-level organizations. As an employment law expert, Marilyn focused her pre-IT experience in the areas of organizational development and corporate compliance. As a mother to three young boys, and a lawyer by trade, Marilyn claims all she really needed to learn about business she learned during her years as a bartender.

 

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