Suppose I asked you to balance on one foot. How long do you think you could sustain that? What about riding a bike with no hands? How long can you keep that going?
As I navigated my transition, I heard people talk about “work-life balance,” which made sense. I had given so much to my career over the span of a 25-year career that finding some life in life sounded terrific!
However, the more I pondered the topic, the more confused I became. I had questions like, “What does work-life balance really mean? Is it that work and life are balanced?” I couldn’t see how work and life balanced...anywhere. And, if they could balance, why does the average American spend a third of their life at work? If life and work were truly balanced, enjoying my life would pay the bills and keep a roof over my family’s heads. But that’s just not reasonable, is it?
So why do we veterans frequently identify and cling to buzzwords and phrases like this? Is it because, if you’re like me, one or more of your children only had you home for 11 months out of their entire high school career? Or is it because you’ve spent countless holidays, birthdays and anniversaries away from your family as a service member? Or is it that we think we’ll find some utopia in civilian life where work and life meet like the beautiful ocean scene meeting white sandy beaches?
I encourage you to stop looking for balance and strive for ALIGNMENT! Alignment allows you to naturally navigate the other stressors in life while mitigating the stress at work because you’re fulfilled. “That sounds great, Eric, but how do I identify those things? How do I find those types of opportunities? Whom do I ask? Whom can I talk to?”
Here are the steps I have taken to find alignment in my professional life.
- Seek out organizations and companies that align with your personal core values.
- Identify an organizational culture that aligns with your professional needs and desires.
- Find a position that aligns with your skills, abilities, talents, and career growth goals.
So, what’s my first step? My advice is to align yourself with a mentor to help you find a sustainable future through alignment at the right company, position and salary! American Corporate Partners offers 1-year-long, one-on-one customized mentorship with career professionals who are hand matched by career or industry interest and a plethora of other demographic criteria at NO COST to the transitioning service member, veteran or military spouse!