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WTS-Boston Book Club Discusses Work-Life Balance

September 1, 2014 06:59 PM

Article by Holly Durso, MBTA

The WTS-Boston Mentoring Committee recently held its first WTS-Boston Book Club event, a new  initiative aimed at providing a fresh forum for networking, discussing meaningful topics, and mentoring among WTS-Boston members.  The club met at HNTB on August 14, 2014, to discuss the book Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction by Matthew Kelly.

More than 20 guests attended this inaugural event to enjoy an evening of dinner and lively conversation.  The group of attendees represented a diverse mix of organizations, generations, professional levels, involvement in WTS, and life experiences.

Mary Jane O’Meara, Associate Vice President of HNTB, hosted the event at her office in downtown Boston and facilitated the evening’s discussion.  She opened by sharing something she has learned from her long-time experience participating in book clubs:  a book everyone likes does not make for a good discussion.  However, there was no shortage of lively discussion surrounding Kelly’s book, and participants shared a variety of perspectives, strategies, lessons learned, and experiences relating to the themes of work-life balance and mentorship. Some takeaways from the discussion include:

  • Planning for the Personal: It is just as important to plan for your personal life as it is to plan for your professional goals.
  • Balance is Key: Be aware of your individual level of balance.  One definition of balance is being your best self, both at work and home. What works well for someone else may not be ideal for you. It is important to be aware of what your needs are, set boundaries, and to communicate these with your employer.
  • Reach for What You Want:  If you don’t ask for what you want, you’re not going to get it.  Don’t be afraid of someone saying “no” – “no” won’t hurt you!
  • Evaluate Your Needs: It is a great idea to do a job assessment regularly (Mary Jane does one every 5 years).  Make a list of what you like and don’t like about your job.  If the negatives outweigh the positives, it may be time for a change.

The WTS-Boston Book Club will meet quarterly, with each meeting focused on a different book and topic of discussion, and hosted by a different WTS-Boston member at locations to be determined.  The Mentoring Committee is planning the next event for this fall.  Mentoring Committee Co-Chairs Meghan Houdlette and Holly Durso welcome suggestions for future books, discussion leaders, and meeting venues. 

A big thank you to those who helped to make the evening a success: Mary Jane O’Meara, HNTB, for hosting and facilitating; Patricia Cunha, HNTB, for helping with food and logistics; Stephanie Bowker, Mentoring Committee member, for help with planning and setup; and Alison Lima, WTS-Boston President, Lee Filipe, WTS-Boston Board Member, and the WTS-Boston Board of Directors for their support of the program.




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