The phrase was dreamed up by corporate consultants in collusion with HR departments who wanted to come up with some whitewash term that would help their employees deal with the abject misery of being employed at their company.
A direct translation of “we want you to have good Work-Life Balance” out of corporate-speak and into English would be:
“We know that working for this company is so Godawful that you might want to slit your wrists in the bathtub tonight, so we hope you take the necessary time to balance the soul-draining hours you choose to slave at this miserable job with an equivalent number of hours that restore to you the hope that there is something to live for, after all, and therefore continue to reporting to work until you’re an old, tired husk out of whom the spark of vitality has entirely departed.
For those of us who have escaped cubicle nation, it’s hard to overstate just how liberating it is that we don’t have to contend with this schizophrenic duality anymore.
For those of us who are free of corporate control, there is no “work” and “life.”
There is just life.
Yes, we do some things each day that eventually get us cash-money, and yes, we spend that cash-money like everybody else to put food on the table.
But it’s all strangely devoid of that soul-crushing, brain-numbing feeling of needing to somehow “balance” the toxicity of the workplace with some Elysian, restorative “life“.
The truth is, whether you’re willing to acknowledge it or not, your work IS your life, and if your work sucks, your life sucks. Period.
The goal for every human being should be to have work that doesn’t suck.
To the extent that your work sucks, your life will suck, and you owe it to yourself — and all the rest of us — to change that.
(We don’t want to hear your bellyaching about how much your work sucks any more than you want to go to work and wallow in the suck.)
The exception here is people who are in some sort of long-term contract with their employees, like in the military.
But that, too, shall pass.