Monday, August 15, 2005

Work-Life Balance

Watching the Sopranos season 5 finale last night, I thought about work-life balance. Sorry if you haven't seen it yet, but this is the one where Adriana, Christopher's fiancee and FBI snitch, gets whacked. I mentioned before about sociopathic bosses, and American's becoming a little too good at separating what they do at work from who they are, and I think the Sopranos take this to that extreme. It makes it funny, in a sense, but also really scary: How can one help but think that the whole family are sociopaths?
I got back to work today, and popped my head in to say good morning to my boss, and got the icey treatment. Apparently rest and good health have not brought me back into a state of grace. Screw it. At least she approved my expense report for the trip, turned in in record time, since until they pay me for my expenses I am broke.
Back to the work-life balance thing. It is interesting: In Japan, work or school probably tips the scales in nine times out of ten as to importance. It is obligation number one. That is quite understandable, but when you have paid holidays, and while the reality is that families do exist, it is not the end of the world if you want/need to take a holiday. And yet, it is treated like a weakness, and people fall all over themselves apologising for not being around when such and such an important something is taking place. While Americans and Europeans spend lots of time at work, it is treated to some extent like simply the way that money is earned. What is really important is family. Europeans definitely get to spend more time with theirs than Americans do, but Japanese men must be at the low end of time spent with family.
I got home 'early' tonight, at 8:30. I got to hug and kiss my son before he went to bed. I didn't do anything for the money I earned that makes me ashamed. Not exactly a perfect balance, but not a bad one either...


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