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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Owning Your Work/Life Balance

Monday Morning Pep Talk

You are one of the lucky ones, you have a job. If you feel like you’re working harder, you are probably right. According to the mandarins at the U.S. Department of Labor workers over fifty years old work harder than their younger counterparts because they value work more. In 2010, Professor Jean Twenge, from San Diego State University, published results of a generational differences study in the Journal of Management. The study found, “young workers place little value on teamwork, company loyalty and see their jobs as merely a means to make a living; they like their leisure time, want more vacations, and don’t want to be under a lot of pressure at work.”
It is up to you to carve-out some “me time” away from the pressures of work to create some work/life balance. Your company isn’t going to do it for you and working 60 hours-a-week is no guarantee you won’t get laid off in the next round of  job cuts.
"The impact that taking a vacation has on one's mental health is profound," said Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who specializes in stress and relationship management. "Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out." Various other studies support the impact of vacations and time away from work on increased productivity, stress relief and a boost to overall health. So, why don’t more people take time off?
 Corporate America has a “24/7, never stop culture” and when senior corporate managers work seven days a week it permeates throughout the organization. Europeans embrace the idea of time away from work to recharge almost religiously. Vacations are enshrined in law. In countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, employers are required to provide up to 20 days of paid leave. Americans, on the other hand, get an average of 12 days every year. A study conducted by the Families and Work Institute found that less than half of U.S. employees take their full vacation benefit.
Probably the best evidence of the “vacation effect” can be found in the Framingham Heart Study, which scientists have examined for years to understand what contributes to our well-being. More than 12,000 men who were at risk of heart disease were followed over nine years to see if there were ways to improve their longevity. Among the questions they were asked annually was about vacations. "The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived," says Karen Matthews, of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center, who analyzed the data to assess the benefits of vacations.
Even if you can’t afford a trip away or you are unemployed and feel guilty about taking any time off your job search, a “stay-cation” in your own town or house-swapping with friends or relatives from another city are ways to recharge your batteries. According to Matthews,"It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on health and be a stress reliever.” This Monday Morning Pep Talk was written a little late as I am taking my own advice and enjoying some time off.

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