Sometimes You’re a Ferrari … Sometimes, You’re an SUV

Work/life Balance—I hear this expression all the time at organizations who say they want their employees to have it. I hear it more often from millennials seeking jobs. Everybody wants it. But does it really exist?

Not in the pure sense of what it implies. Oprah summed it up perfectly when she said, “You can have it all, just not all at once.”

Think of yourself as a car. When you graduate from college, you’re a Ferrari that can go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds. That was me as a young college graduate at my first bank job. I couldn’t get enough work assignments to satisfy my thirst for learning. My long hours got noticed and I was quickly promoted. At that time, it was a choice I made that suited me well.

Then I got married and had kids. Being a stay-at-home mom was not an option, so I traded in my Ferrari for an SUV. I became that versatile vehicle; pulling so much weight, carrying lots of people, reliable but maybe not as sexy. When my kids were young I juggled demanding work assignments, sick kids, and class trips, hoping the circles under my eyes were not too noticeable from day to day. These were the most challenging periods in my life—trying to be a super mom and manage my career. My advice to others in the same situation is to set aspirational goals with realistic expectations. It may take you longer on this crowded highway called life, but don’t take your foot off the gas.

I have made many difficult choices in my life, from missing a school picnic for my son’s class because of an important work assignment, to taking a less demanding job, so I can care for my sick dad who was suffering from dementia.

Looking back I have no regrets. Today, the crossroads of work/life balance are less full of potholes and more about bringing others along for the journey.

I am back to feeling like a sports car again but more like a Tesla Roadster. I am fast and innovative, but with a mission to be more caring about the environment around me.

Just remember: Life is a journey and, along that journey, the scales of work/life balance may tip in one direction or another. Embrace it.