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by Derek Loosvelt | February 15, 2011


In his TED talk entitled "How to make work-life balance work," Nigel Marsh -- the regional group CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands for Australia and New Zealand and author of Fat, Forty and Fired as well as Overworked and Underlaid -- tackles all-important workplace questions like How the heck am I supposed to have a life, much less get some loving once in awhile, when my company is working me to the doggone bone? and Is my company taking advantage of me, or is this jeans Friday thing really improving the quality of my life? and Is it healthy that the only relationship I can maintain is with some dude whose name I don't even know (unless you consider "My MD" a name) and who pretty much hates my guts, or, at least, that's how it seems because he yells at me at least twice a day every day about something or other that I don't even think has anything to do with me?

What Marsh presents in his talk is applicable to all industries across the globe, but, I believe, is extremely relevant to the long-hours-no-life-outside-of-work world of investment banking. As a result, I urge prospective employees, current executives, company recruiters, etc., in the industry to watch the entire video below.

Of course, I know most of them won't, since they're working so hard and don't have the time. Which is why in addition to posting the talk below, I've pulled a few choice quotes from Marsh's talk and included those as well. So, at the very least, it's my hope that they take a minute to skim these (and then go back to their very busy days).

1. With thousands and thousands of people out there working long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don't need to be able to impress people they don't like, it's my contention that going to work on Friday in jeans and a T-shirt isn't really getting to the nub of the issue.

2. It's particualy important that you never put the quality of your life in the hands of a commercial  corporation; I'm not talking about the bad companies, I'm talking about all companies, because commercial companies are inherently designed to get as much out of you as they can get away with -- it's in their nature, it's in their DNA, even the good, well intentioned companies.

3. On the one hand, putting child care at the office is wonderful and enlightened; on the other hand it's a nightmare that means you spend more time at the bloody office.

4. We have to be careful with the time frame that we choose upon which to judge our balance ... We need to elongate it without falling into the trap of 'I'll have a life when I retire.' A day is too short, after I retire is too long. There's got to be a middle way.

5. We need to approach balance in a balanced way. Being a more fit 10-hour-a-day office rat isn't more balanced, it's more fit ... Lovely though physical evercise may be, there are other parts of life. There's the intellectual side, there's the emotional side, there's the spiritual side, and to be balanced, I believe, we have to attend to all of those areas.

6. Being more balanced doesn't require a dramatic upheaval of your life; with the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life. Moreover, I think it can transform society, because if enough people do it, we can change society's definition of success, away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when he dies wins, to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of a what a life well lived looks like.


Filed Under: Finance
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