Life in general can be very stressful, but when you couple it with work and family it sometimes can feel too much. Being able to find a balance between the two will not only leave you feeling emotionally more grounded and happy, but it will also have a positive impact on your productivity and your family relationships. Unfortunately, having work-family balance is not something that comes naturally and is something that needs continual work and reassessment depending on where you are in your life (pre kids, young kids, teenagers, etc). “ In fact, the initial terminology (work-family balance) has given way to a more productive approach to the navigation of work and family roles (MacDermid, Leslie, & Bissonnette, 2001; Ormerod, Joseph, Weitzman, & Winterrowd, 2012; Schultheiss, 2006), implying an ongoing and active process rather than an unachievable endpoint of perfect balance.”

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Peer responses. 60 words each. APA format

undefinedPeer 1 Clea

undefinedLife in general can be very stressful, but when you couple it with work and family it sometimes can feel too much. Being able to find a balance between the two will not only leave you feeling emotionally more grounded and happy, but it will also have a positive impact on your productivity and your family relationships. Unfortunately, having work-family balance is not something that comes naturally and is something that needs continual work and reassessment depending on where you are in your life (pre kids, young kids, teenagers, etc). “ In fact, the initial terminology (work-family balance) has given way to a more productive approach to the navigation of work and family roles (MacDermid, Leslie, & Bissonnette, 2001; Ormerod, Joseph, Weitzman, & Winterrowd, 2012; Schultheiss, 2006), implying an ongoing and active process rather than an unachievable endpoint of perfect balance.”

undefinedSome of the ways in which you can accomplish a balance is by first understanding how gender roles/expectations are playing a role in your relationship at home and at work. If you are in a relationship where only the woman does all of the housework, the majority of the child raising and has a job outside of the house; this will lead to burnout and resentment (and probably not a strong relationship with your spouse). By being able to share the workload of a house and raising children, not only are you building healthier relationships in your marriage, but you are reinforcing to your children that being part of a family is an equal load.

undefinedAge also plays a major role in work-life balance. Prevention is key for work-life balance so if you are able to talk with your significant other on what life will theoretically look like after you have children (will you work, take some gap years, etc) this will allow you to proactively reassess what life/work looks like for the both of you before you have children. However, not all people have taken this prevention step, and it is important to realize that oftentimes life changes and is completely unpredictable (moving, a death, divorce, surprise pregnancy, etc). Open communication with your spouse/significant other about creating an equal job load and discussing with your employer about resources available to you and possible job flexibility (working from home, changing hours, etc).

undefinedA midlife career change often occurs when a person feels unsatisfied with their current career or they have become so stretched thin that they quit. Age and sexual orientation may also play a major role in career changes. “Interestingly, there is little association between work-family conflict and job turnover, although turnover may be higher in women with children.” (Bridger, Day, & Morton, 2013). Just thinking about the pandemic that we are living in right now, many women had to leave their jobs just to stay home with their children; this could have been due to lack of childcare, online learning, their work being closed, etc). Sexual orientation is also a major piece in a career change. “There is some evidence to suggest that those who are more open about their sexual orientation at work experience less work-family conflict.” (Fassinger, 2008; Perrone, 2005). A few years ago I worked a private Christian school with a teacher who is a lesbian but was unable to tell anyone and was also not allowed to have any relationships with another woman, because it didn’t “match the belief system of the school.” She always looked very uncomfortable and unhappy. Ironically enough we now both work at the same public school in a neighboring community where she looks so much happier and less stressed, because she is able to be who she is without condemnation from the school.

undefinedCareer change can have a positive impact, like I mentioned above, however it can also have a negative impact on your entire family. When a person leaves a job because of a life crisis (taking care of a family member, job relocation, divorce, etc) the cause and effect might not have been a factor. Sometimes in moments of stress we don’t make the best life decisions. “Work stress, in particular, can even require some “recovery” time or psychological detachment during non work hours to retain equilibrium.” (Demsky, Ellis, & Fritz, 2014; Potok & Littman-Ovadia, 2014). Some work environments can be traumatic, and will require some extensive recovery time to heal from them to find your well-being for future positions.

undefinedReferences:

undefinedFrench, K. A., Allen, T. D., Miller, M. H., Kim, E. S., & Centeno, G. (2020). Faculty time allocation in relation to work-family balance, job satisfaction, commitment, and turnover intentions. Journal of Vocational Behavior120https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2020.103443

undefinedJuntunen, C.L. & Schwartz, J.P. (Eds). (2016). Counseling across the lifespan (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://viewer.gcu.edu/V6W8wF

undefinedPeer #2 Brigette

undefinedHow ironic for this to be the topic today. Work-life balance has been shaken up by the covid-19 pandemic, to say the least. I just used up all of my vacation time, because I was feeling overworked and needed some time to recuperate. But a family situation arose and I did not get the time that I needed.

undefinedWork-life balance is important because a tip in either direction can be added stress and decreased resources or role enhancement (Juntunen & Schwartz, 2016). It is important to have more than one role in life, and it is also important to find and maintain a healthy balance with those roles. Personally, I am not all that successful at finding my work-life balance right now. In the last year I have had added work stress and elements of my role at work added to my plate; while at home, I went through a divorce and am trying to manage all of my daughters at home while letting my son live in another town with his father. So far, my go-to coping strategy has been dissociation. It can’t work effectively forever, so I have to make some changes eventually.

undefinedSome factors that may contribute to a mid-life career change might be empty nest, job flexibility, career satisfaction, or change in family roles. One major risk factor that may impact career changes is poor psychosocial work factors; and a protective factor might be a higher work engagement (Leijten et al., 2015).

undefinedReferences

undefinedJuntunen, C. L. & Schwartz, J. P. (2016). Counseling Across the Lifespan: Prevention and Treatment (2 nd ed.) . Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

undefinedLeijten, F. R. M., van den Heuvel, S. G., van der Beek, A. J., Ybema, J. F., Robroek, S. J. W., & Burdorf, A. (2015). Associations of work-related factors and work engagement with mental and physical health: A 1-year follow-up study among older workers. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 25(1), 86–95. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s10926-…

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undefinedPeer #3 Laura

undefinedIt is important to find a balance between the pressures of work and family-life demands. Balancing work-life challenges is an ongoing process that requires continual effort in order to retain equilibrium. Unfortunately, there are significant consequences of role strain, conflict, and overload that can negatively impact both a person’s life at home and the workplace environment when a balance is not achieved (Juntunen & Schwartz, 2016). Some of the consequences of work-life imbalance include excessive alcohol use, increased exhaustion, depersonalization, increased cortisol reactivity, and difficulties sleeping. Likewise, work-family conflict is associated with a lower satisfaction in life and poor morale (Juntunen & Schwartz, 2016). As such, finding a balance is essential for mental health and wellness in work-life environments. This requires finding a balance between work demands and personal responsibilities. When work environments support this process, it strengthens employee loyalty and productivity, and fosters greater happiness in life (Dhas, 2015). As such, one method that employers incorporate to help individuals accomplish work-life balance is through wellness programs. One plan incorporates a reward system for participating in and completing certain physical challenges and mental health activities within a certain amount of time. Another program that companies offer is paying for an employee’s gym membership as part of a benefits package. Likewise, some companies invite yoga instructors or massage therapists into the office for complimentary, lunchtime sessions (Dhas, 2015). Additionally, many employers offer longer vacation time, flexible workplace or telecommuting options, expanded application of multimedia platforms, virtual meetings, extended paid leave for elderly care, free counseling for personal issues, and a financial stipend for childcare per year (Dhas, 2015). Other effective tips that individuals can personally incorporate to accomplish work-life balance are turning off cell phones and laptops when leaving work, saying no to stressful events that will cause conflict later on, delegating and sharing household chores, work restructuring, putting family events on a shared calendar, prioritizing work-life balance (Dhas, 2015). Preventatively, couples can initiate conversations about multiple roles and potential conflict in advance to avoid role ambiguity. These are important dialogs to have, and should include career interruption after childbirth, financial changes that might occur, and what support systems are available at work, in families, and in the community that can help keep work-life balance (Juntunen & Schwartz, 2016).

undefinedThere are several factors that influence midlife career changes. One factor is when an organization downsizes or restructures the workforce, and there is a required, mid-career change in location, field of interest, or company. Another factor involves consistent challenges with employees or management. Having a poor relationship with the manager or workplace team can lead to a decision to change jobs mid-career. Further, many individuals change careers due to becoming the primary caretaker of children or elderly parents, and can no longer place all of their energy into their careers. Sometimes, individuals no longer have the option to effectively incorporate multiple roles within their current employment, and need to make a change (Vogelsang et al 2018). Physical health can affect career changes, as well as physical health or age-related challenges. Higher educational levels can also motivate someone to make a career change. Likewise, financial resources can cause a mid-career change (Juntunen & Schwartz, 2016).

undefinedThere are risk and protective factors that affect a person’s transition during career changes. Risk factors often result from imbalances between social responsibility, biological challenges, and workplace stress. Persistent strain from this imbalance causes chronic stress, which negatively affects physical and mental health during career changes. Accordingly, high demands that pull individuals in multiple directions often lead to anxiety, depression, and chronic physiological disease (Dainese et al., 2011). As such, protective factors counterbalance stressful transitions and positively impact health. Research reports that one of the strongest protective factors is resilience. As such, protective strategies to enhance principles of optimum, positive affect, and strategies that support positivity amid transitional periods constructively contribute to resiliency when facing strain. This improves wellness through a mid-career transition (Dainese et al., 2011). Likewise, increasing experiences with optimistic, encouraging emotions can build enduring personal resources. These strategies positively affect health and resilience during mid-career transitions too. As such, incorporating protective factors to counterbalance stressful, mid-career transitions can improve health stabilization and promotion, and can help individuals outlast conflict and stress related to mid-career transitions (Dainese et al. 2011).

undefinedReferences:

undefinedDainese, S.M., Allemand, M., Ribeiro, N., Bayram, S., Martin, M., & Ehlert, U. (2011, March). Protective factors in midlife: How do people stay healthy? The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(1), 19-29. DOI:10.1024/1662-9647/a000032

undefinedDhas, D.B. (2015). A report of the importance of work-life balance. International Journal of Applied Engineering Research, 10(9), 21695-21665. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282685585_A_report_on_the_importance_of_work-life_balance

undefinedJuntunen, C.L. & Schwartz, J.P. (Eds). (2016). Counseling across the lifespan (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://viewer.gcu.edu/V6W8wF

undefinedVogelsang, E.M., Shultz, K.S., & Olson, D.A. (2018, January 24). Emotional well-being following a later life career change: The roles of agency and resources. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 87(4). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0091415017745972

 

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