MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
WTS-LA: The Work-Life Balance Dream
I have news. Recently, I became a mom. I gave birth to a wonderful son. And I couldn’t be happier or prouder. I also couldn’t be more exhausted! But at least it’s happy-tired. However, bringing a child into the world and taking care of them has given me a whole new perspective on the concept of work-life balance.
Yes, I’m a huge proponent, always have been. But as we all know, work doesn’t stop at the front door and life doesn’t stop at the office elevator. More importantly, work-life balance is not a static, Zen-like, crystallized moment that you achieve. It’s actually quite the opposite of a single feeling. Work-life balance is often only attained and realized in retrospect. You’ll have a free moment and the realization hits you that things all seem to be in proper proportion. It just feels right that your work and home life support each other in their integration and separateness. And if you’ve not had the feeling, well, then it’s time to do some proper soul-searching to realign what you’re doing. But the important point here is that work-life balance is not a moment; it’s a philosophy. And it’s one that needs constant tending, very much like newborns.
Right now, my time is only my own when he is sleeping. In those moments, I get to be me again, but it’s a different me. And while I cherish those moments I also use them to recharge so that I can better be there for my baby. That’s why work-life balance is so crucial. Balancing both your home life and work life makes you better at both. So, work-life balance is not simply some HR initiative or a lofty perfect-world goal. It’s a way to help you be more productive, happy, effective, and fulfilled. So whether you choose to be a parent or not, whether you choose to climb the organizational ladder aggressively or not, or whether you have a grander professional goal outside of work or not, work-life balance matters. So, I think it’s wonderfully synchronous that the global theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8th) was embrace equity.
Part of “an ongoing effort to raise awareness around why equal opportunities are no longer enough,” embracing equity today focuses on taking things past the basics. Are things truly equal everywhere? No, of course not. But we have made great strides in many areas, strides that previous generations could only dream of. It’s not enough. So, onward we tarry. And when we frame embracing equity in terms of work-life balance, it’s about making sure that all of us can successfully create a professional and personal life that provides us with what we comprehensively need, advances our careers as we hope, and helps improve society for the betterment of all. That sounds like a tall order, well, no one said life or work would be easy. But I believe the only way to achieve outcomes like this is through unyielding effort to make things better for all.
As a new mom, I think I’m beginning to see things differently. My perspective has shifted. And while I always intellectually understood the meaning and value of work-life balance, today it means that much more to me because my life has expanded. But I’m also still me. And as flight attendants always advise in their flight preamble, when the oxygen masks drop, put yours on before you help others with theirs. So, in your professional life, your personal life, your life as a WTS-LA member, and however else you may identify, take care of yourself so that you’re there and better able to take care of others. Embrace equity. Find your work-life balance and keep working on it continually. That’s how we all learn to find a successful path forward together. I look forward to seeing you all soon when I transition back to work from maternity leave and strike a new work-life balance process.
Heather Anderson, PE
For a list of the 2023-2024 Board of Directors, click here.