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There are No Wrong Answers (Except Yours)

MY WORK-LIFE BALANCE SHEET

MY WORK-LIFE BALANCE SHEET

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I suppose it says something about my problems with co-dependence that I’m thinking of lying to my computer screen. See, I just found this Web site called Quintessential Careers, founded by Dr. Randall Hansen, and on it is a work-life balance quiz The thing is, I was raised in a family of successful CEO’s whose idea of work-life balance was remembering not to back over the family on their way out of the garage. Needless to say, failing a test is not an option in this gene pool. But one look at the questions on Dr. Hansen’s quiz, and I know I’m going to be staring down the long barrel of defeat, or mired in the swamp of untapped potential, or some other metaphor that indicates severe choking in a clutch situation. (Once upon a time, I could have used the Boston Red Sox to drive this point home, but as of 2004, even that die-hard comparison went by the boards.)

So, even though this is an anonymous test, and the Quintessential Careers privacy policy guarantees that my e-mail will not be used for nefarious purposes, still I contemplate lying to a computer. What choice do I have? I mean, listen to some of these true-or-false questions: Number 6: “I feel stressed out most of the time.” Number 15: “I almost always bring work home with me.” Or unlucky Number 13: “I do what I do because so many people depend on me for their support.” Clearly, this test demands rigorous honesty, and clearly I must fudge my way out of that approach faster than you can say “Dr. Phil.” To do otherwise would be to let down my entire lineage. The proud Stern men did not raise a quitter. (No, they raised a recovering addict with ADD, but that’s another story.)

If one answers “true” to two or less of Dr. Hansen’s inquiries, the grading scale shows that person to be in pretty good work-life balance, and urges continued vigilance in keeping the balance up. Three to five true responses finds you teetering on the edge, and suggests making changes before being overwhelmed by work. More than five true responses puts you fully in “out of balance” territory, and warns that things may come crashing down around you. Thankfully, Dr. Hansen does provide a link to Ten Tips For Achieving Better Life Balance, so those of us who score high on this quiz are given some good advice as to how to get back on track. Hey, wait a minute….what did I just say? “Those who score high…” That’s it! I scored fifteen out of fifteen on the quiz: the highest possible score! I am, after all, proudly upholding my family legacy as an overachiever. I’m a winner! At least that’s what I will tell the men in the Stern family. And since they’re too busy to check out my blog anyway, the only people who will know my horrible secret about struggling to be a sensitive husband and father while achieving success at work are the people who are reading this right now. And that number is, potentially, only in the millions. What a relief!

Top Three Takeways:

  1. I joke, but it’s really not cool to manipulate a test result to suit your own version of the events. Please, leave that kind of thing to the government.
  2. No matter how you scored on the work-life balance quiz, change and growth are always possible. Okay, so I watch Oprah, you got a problem with that?
  3. Revealing tests such as these prove that the Internet is not just a place to take up your valuable time in Web surfing. It is also a place to take up your valuable time learning what a basket case you are.

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