How to find a job and keep your life

Everyone wants to live a joyful and balanced life. For many people, this lifestyle consists of a steady job with good pay and plenty of energy left over to spend quality time with family and friends. But despite the common desire for a healthy work-life balance, today’s workplace demands a great deal of time, effort and attention from its employees. Particularly in a tight economy, workers face longer hours and added responsibilities. In some cases, they deal with salary freezes or pay cuts.

So how do you land a job that will give you the freedom to make dinner plans, plan a schedule at the gym and enjoy leisurely weekends and vacations? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but here are a few ideas that may help:

Find like-minded bosses and companies. A happy work force is a productive work force. Many business owners and managers believe in this philosophy and implement people-friendly policies to help their employees achieve a successful work-life balance.

When targeting potential employers, read newspaper articles, Web sites and marketing materials for clues about the corporate culture. If the business seems to value the health and well-being of its employees, you’re on the right path. But don’t take the company’s word for it. Look for actual policies and programs that demonstrate a genuine consideration for personnel.

Negotiate changes in your current job. If you are presently employed, you may be able to convert an overwhelming workload to a more reasonable schedule. You might try telecommuting or switching to a compressed work week, job sharing arrangement or part-time schedule.

Create a proposal that demonstrates how the transition will directly benefit the company. Make a strong presentation to your supervisor. Don’t forget to include financial facts and performance data to demonstrate that the change will increase productivity and reduce costs. Many times, you can negotiate a win-win agreement that will positively affect your work-life balance.

Consider a different career. Some industries demand more from their workers than others. If you need additional time for yourself or your family, start researching other fields that align better with your lifestyle. You may also be able to transfer to a new position within your existing company or industry, such as a switch from commission-based sales to client relationship management.

Create balance by increasing efficiency. Take charge of your situation inside and outside of the workplace by eliminating activities that drain your time or energy. Of course, some of these functions may be necessary, such as commuting to work, placing required sales calls or upholding family responsibilities. Even so, you can probably find ways to streamline or improve these tasks to lessen their impact on your day.

You may also simplify your life by minimizing clutter, declining participation in special projects and committees, avoiding after-hours griping sessions and delegating some of your less-critical job duties. Also, remember to ask for help from colleagues and support staff when you need it.

It is possible to achieve your career goals without losing your personal life in the process. Research the right opportunities, implement changes to your work schedule and boost your productivity across the board. A balanced day will improve your state of mind at work and at home.

Eve Nicholas can be reached at

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