Work-life balance is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit, but while we love to talk about it, actually achieving it is another thing entirely. In fact, its attainment can seem akin to achieving modern day nirvana. This pursuit keeps the 21st century worker – and especially parents or caregivers – in a seemingly endless quest to attain some semblance of balance as they juggle increasing responsibilities.
Numerous debates have erupted in the U.S. about how to “have it all,” with conclusions ranging from true work-life balance being a non-starter, especially for young mothers staying in the workforce, all the way to a few champions touting that they were indeed able to “have it all” by prioritizing fiercely, setting goals, etc. From my personal experience, when I talk to my peers, whether they are recent MBA graduates, or long-lost high school friends, very few seem to have cultivated the secret to work-life balance as they age, but all aspire to have it. And they’re in good company: The U.S. ranks a mere 29th out of 36 advanced countries that were surveyed in 2015 to measure work-life balance.1
It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Workforce transformations are underway, and they aren’t being driven entirely by millennials, as you might think. Cue the on-demand economy and its reverberations. While the on-demand space is a new sector, and a story that is just starting to be written, it has ushered in an era in which each individual – regardless of their educational or professional background – has the opportunity to find work, whenever and wherever they want, which can be liberating. Now, a single parent, for example, can pick up work – whether it be through Lyft, TaskRabbit, Wonolo, or any number of platforms, and literally build their schedules around their own lives.
The incredible opportunity to be a part of this evolving story, empower others to pursue their passions and prove themselves on the job, and level the playing field is what first drew me to Wonolo. Over the last 9 months, I have had dozens of conversations with Wonoloers who have diverse backgrounds, but the common thread that unites them all is a desire to build an authentic life in which work is a priority. However, it doesn’t dictate what their “day” looks like.
One Wonoloer, whose life purpose is to travel the world, does just that. She selects jobs through Wonolo, saves money to travel, and then repeats the cycle. As someone who formerly worked in the hospitality industry, she chose to join Wonolo and rideshare platforms in order to take charge of her life. Since joining the on-demand economy, she has traveled to England, Scotland, Hawaii and Greece. You can learn more about her amazing story here.
Needless to say, there are still many challenges to overcome, such as ensuring a steady stream of work options as people pursue their own definitions of nirvana. However, on a daily basis, I’m in awe of the rapidly changing workplace as I team up with Wonoloers across the U.S. and see how they are turning the old work-life balance adage into their own realities. I am inspired by their stories, their commitment to their life goals, and I too look forward to carving out my own version of nirvana!
1 OECD Better Life Index. Available online: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/u-s-lousy-work-life-balance/