Balance of life

Tom Collins comments about the current generation of young lawyers and their drive for a balanced life …

He says, “Some people confuse Generation Y’s skill set with the work/life balance issue. It isn’t the same. … Generation Y members want it all-work success and a full life … This new generation of associates grew up with technology, and they are accomplished at multitasking. … They seem to have the ability to get the job done and still make the soccer game. That, by the way, is the test. It’s not about who works the hardest. It is all about getting the job done regardless of what it takes. If you create a balance between work and life while getting the job done, you will be a happier and healthier attorney.

As I was maturing in the practice of law (aka “growing up”), I took it for granted that hard work (aka “long hours”) was required to succeed both professionally and economically. I saw that in industry; I saw that in the legal field. I saw no one succeeding (no matter what their definition of “success”) without such hard work.

I was prepared to make the commitment. But, I also wanted to have a hobby or an outlet that enabled me to have some exercise, some method of “blowing off steam.” That outlet was/is cycling. And, for a more complete “balance of life,” I made sure that my family was with me when I went to conferences and bar activities. That way, they understood my professional life and I got to be with them/share with them times I might not otherwise have.

Many years later, a colleague asked me how my little son was. He was referring to my son who laid across my lap, asleep, as the bus took us from one hotel to another at one of the bar association conferences. I reminded him that that was 30 years ago! That my son was now almost 40 years of age.

The image remained with him, though, I guess, because I was one of the first volunteer bar leaders to include his family in the effort to contribute to the well-being of the profession.

We all have different ways of having “balance” in our lives. I suspect that my son would not do the same today; however, my daughter, a professional in the medical field, might.

Times change, issues change, but the road to success still demands commitment, time, as well as skill.


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