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It is inevitable that juggling work and family life will be one of a person’s demanding experiences. The rationale for having a job is not only to have a livelihood, achieve personal satisfaction in the expression of his abilities and trainings, and receive his remuneration and perks on the side. Preparation for family stability to be able to provide and thus create an atmosphere of care, for bachelors/maidens, is also the foremost and logical reason for having a job. However, the thin thread that separates between the two polarities becomes blurred, and there lies the tension that pulls a person in different directions. The Center for Mediation and Dispute Resolution opens its website with the following quote: “Our life is one giant balancing act (http://www.cmdronline.com/workshops.htm).”Perhaps, no person will ever disagree with that statement.  The goal then is to know how to do the balancing act, to gain competencies in achieving a rewarding, flourishing kind of life that holds work in one hand, while maintaining a well-nurtured and healthy family on the other hand.   The array of questions that confront couples or families with this dilemma is quite limitless. To address this matter, the following questions are entertained and tackled: What is the definition of “dual career”? What are the problems and challenges that families meet while doing this balancing act of maintaining a job and tending a family? Finally, what are the strategies to be implemented that will successfully balance both work and family?DefinitionDual-career couples are understood as parents/couples who are not simply both working, but employed in jobs that demand a high level of commitment (Hester and Dickerson, 1998). This may also occur in families where only one spouse has the outside work and does this kind of dual career. Throughout this paper, the term “dual career” and “work and family life” refer to the same thing, whether they occur in both working spouses, or in single spouse-working family units. This arrangement of a family where both parents work and at the same time attend to the needs of the family to maintain its wholeness is quite a challenging, if not an exhausting set up. For how can both parents be working full-time in their respective jobs while being full-time parents to their children in the same excellent capacity? This trend of dual career families came into vogue for a number of possible reasons; one of those is the pressure of keeping up with the fast-paced high technology 21st century. It is said that more and more couples nowadays are adapting to this kind of family set up. The lure of this system lies in its deemed compensation in the form of monetary rewards, high social status because of the impression it gives like “high levels of career responsibility,” and the parents’ investment of their time and energy   (Johnson et al, 1979).Problems and ChallengesWhile working, dual career parents who have not agreed beforehand, assume that either one of them would somehow manage to adjust and take heavier responsibility of managing the household and minimize responsibility in the workplace. This poses a lot of potential problems like expecting more understanding from the other spouse who had not taken this additional household cares. Another major thing, and probably more important, is the parents’ oversight of children. Whereas it is true that some considerable “rewards” go along with dual career arrangement, the potential neglect of children must not be ignored. Imbalance family set up can wreck a household. At the organizational level, employees in this kind of set-up experience the beginning of burnout or may be highly stressed to the point of exhibiting physiological, mental and emotional exhaustion. Symptoms appear in the form of “presenteesm, absenteesm, regrettable turnover and loss of productivity,” according to Spinks (2006).Strategies to Balance Work and FamilyAt the stake when a family works to achieve a balance are principles or values they uphold. These are the values of family togetherness, rearing and nurturing their offspring, and providing for all aspects of each household member.The Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution has suggested five points to help their clients; namely: 1.) Division of labor and household tasks, 2.) Career expectations and plans, 3.) Allocation of family funds, 4.) Changing roles over time, and 5.) Educational plans and provisions (http://www.cmdronline.com/workshops.htm).. These are strategies not only to address the challenges, but are sure methods also to prevent possible frictions and eventual breakups of households. Constant communication that is authentic and with respect are keys to the five points enumerated. When the spouses are able to adjust to changing roles they become less stressed or burdened over the many expectations that society and themselves raise on how families are supposed to be run and arranged.At times, institutions employ the services of mental health practitioners as retainers to provide their employees with counseling help along these strategic lines. Companies who deeply understand that human personnel are their primary investments look to utilizing the available resources within their reach to lessen the stress, burnout, unhealthy lifestyle, or other potential problems within each of their framework. According to Spinks, achieving work-family life balance requires the contribution of “employers, employees, governments and communities.” He also adds that it entails a collaborative effort that “integrates health and fitness, mental health and well-being, and non-work commitments, as well as career aspirations and job satisfaction.”This implies that employees are given a more varied approach to maximizing their potential while taking care that they do not sacrifice other areas of their personal domain. The corporate world now talks of supportive environments that look after an employee’s other pursuits in life besides his/her work, giving him/her opportunities to have a more convenient or handy work schedule, more sufficient and suitable means for the anticipated problems to come, a system of reward and recognition for performance, as well as creating a good working environment for the individual workers.ConclusionIn general, people become satisfied and fulfilled when success comes to both important areas in his/her life. Work brings personal gratification and provision for family is secured somehow, while having a happy and contented family is considered miracle in a dog-eat-dog world. This is the aspiration of many if not all working couples and individuals. When employed in an institution that really takes care of their workers, taking into consideration the things that their employees hold dear by providing as much as the employee needs, the worker or employee settles into a condition wherein he/she can focus on the work or be inspired of it. In addition, the worker can afford more quality time to spend with his/her family. The strategies mentioned are time-and tested approaches. These have greatly helped a lot of people or families in their search for a balanced work-family life.

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