TEETER-TOTTER OF SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS: BALANCING WORK AND PERSONAL LIVES

Submitted by: Megan Mitchell, PhD, Chair-Elect of the ACRM Early Career Networking Group

Early Career Networking Group

While recently packing to move for the umpteenth time in a decade, I came across a college essay I wrote my senior year of high school. The topic: Where I saw myself when I was forty.

The conclusion: I would be a pediatrician working in my private practice, 5 days a week, and on call at the hospital, for the other two days, while my husband took on the role of primary caregiver for our three children.

The reality: I am a rehabilitation engineer with my doctorate, enjoying taking time off to stay at home with my children. To this day, I still revel in the circumstances that so greatly changed my priorities and continue to face the never-ending struggle of balancing work, family, and personal life.

While many of you are also facing this struggle that never ends, we are not the first or the last to face it. If this is a topic of interest to you, then join the Early Career Networking Group (ECNG) over the next few issues of Rehabilitation Outlook as we look into some of the typical work-life balance struggles, and get advice from individuals who have “Been there; Done that.” General topics will include:

1)     College is over. Is our personal life too?

As we begin to pursue our career in rigorous and demanding environments (whether doing a residency or post-doc, or jumping into the workforce), the question remains: how can we maintain our life outside of work?

2)     The next generation.

Whether male or female, often beginning our career coincides with either beginning a family or making career choices with a future family in mind. How can we make healthy career choices that will not sacrifice family or the potential for a family?

3)     “You never get these years back.”

When beginning a family, we constantly hear this phrase regarding children and parenting. What are some of the current trends and accepted practices for mothers/fathers staying at home for the short term? How do you get back into the field?

4)     The guilt.

If you do choose to go back to work, how do you overcome the potential guilt of not doing either job well? How do you fulfill your obligations as you are constantly being pulled to be a good team member and good parent?

5)     The right moves.

Beginning a new career can often mean a big move… away from family, friends and the familiar. This can have a large impact on family and social life. What are some things to consider and be aware of when making a big move?

We hope you enjoy this upcoming series of articles. You will also be able to find bits of this information sprinkled on the ACRM Facebook page (feel free to post comments and questions), and distributed in the ECNG monthly e-blasts.