Men vs. Women: Work-Life Balance

Category: Men vs. Women Series

 Scrabble work life balance

Continuing with this series of columns, let’s examine the ongoing and increasingly big struggle we all face when trying to balance our lives, ubiquitously now known as work-life balance. Work is now a 24/7 option. I suppose “Life” is, too. But, work has intruded in our lives in ways never before imagined. The life of the advertising guys in “Mad Men” ended, to a degree, at the end of their proscribed workday or depending on how drunk they were on any given occasion. The end of our work-lives today is completely random. And, I’ll assert that men and women approach this work-life balancing act in different ways.

Is work-life balance possible?

As always with the Men vs. Women series, I will make generalities that invariably have exceptions. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be generalities. I will also make observations that Women’s Studies professors would declare, “Sexist!” Thank you for those declarations because I prefer truth to political correctness.

So, how do men and women approach this tough task of achieving balance, even tougher when married with children, I assert at the onset? Let’s go:

~~ Using my wife as a reflective sample, women say how overwhelmed and tired they are a lot more than men.

It doesn’t matter whether my wife is working or not working, her favorite three words are “I’m so tired.” She actually stopped her regular job about a year ago, but being the achiever and do-er she is, that didn’t stop her non-stop schedule. It’s just directed elsewhere. I don’t know if this is a real difference between men and women, but I think it is. When men are tired, we simply nod off – WHEREVER we are – we don’t tend to announce it.

Chart about work and life balance

~~ Men have a harder time leaving work behind and “turning it off.”

The flip side of the tired equation is how often men struggle to not work. While it’s NOT politically correct to acknowledge this, men work longer and harder “on average” than women. NOT because men are better, but because men are stupider! Women doctors average far less hours than their male counterparts. Why? Because they choose to take time off, choose to have babies, choose to take their maternity leave, etc.

I will leave the equity of this, vis-à-vis equal pay and such, to others to debate but suffice it to say, I believe we guys work too long, too hard, and too much.

Fortune Cookie

~~ Women are better at compartmentalizing tasks and organizing their lives, though women struggle just as much as men with the whole work-life balance thing.

Work-Life Balance seems to be one of our current catch phrases. On this aspect of managing our lives, I suspect women may be better but I am far from sure. I do know that my wife is good at compartmentalizing tasks while I am often scattershot. I would love feedback on this one from readers. Do you think there is a difference in how men and women achieve or don’t achieve work-life balance?

Modern Life

~~ In contrast to women’s ability to organize, as stated above, men don’t mind chaos or mess, in general.

Heck, some of us guys even like a disorderly setting. My office is a perfect example. I know where everything is, even though I can’t remember the last time I dusted my desk or put away anything laying on the floor. My wife and I think most women prefer an orderly environment and life. Again, I wonder if this is true for the most part or just in my world?

New Normal work-life challenges

~~ Men do like to play and I think will make time for play more readily than women.

Even if it’s fitting in nine holes of golf, men will find/make the time for play. They won’t make the time for gabbing with their buddies, which women tend to do better and more often, but we guys will do our sports or watch them, at the very least.

balancing work and life

~~ Women find solace with other women.

How is this work-life balance related? Simple. We all need to rant, express, and otherwise deal with the emotional side of our lives. Women usually have their regular outlets for this with other women. Men tend to have drinking, sports, or poker buddies, but when the game is over, the talk stops. Plus, when there’s alcohol around, the talk will be less likely to go into anything deep or personal.

Speaking of alcohol, I wonder if this is true? Do women drink alone more than men? What do you think?

Finding our work-life balance is not gender-biased because we all seek it. Perhaps men get more obsessed with their work because men tend to get their internal satisfaction far too much from their work and work identity. Perhaps women, being more family-oriented (many, but not all), do tend to at least work at achieving a better work-life balance than men. I don’t know. But, I do know that men and women are different and with most everything, we bring our genetic bias to play in all things we do.

Please read and/or comment on any of the other columns in the Men vs. Women series.

How about skipping that $5 Starbucks latte and splurging $2.99 (for the Kindle on Amazon) or $2.79 for the PDF of my new e-book? Enjoy my own informercial for it! This e-book is really a virtual journey. It’s filled with 100 photos, 7 original videos, and links to many of the stops on the trip. Click on the book cover image below to find your purchase options: 

Book Cover from The Empty Nest

  • Guest

    From what I remember of Catherine Hakim’s research on the topic and my own observations, work life balance goes something like this. 1) 20% of women are wanna-be-men who work all the time and strive for status at all cost. These women also tend to be the group from which fascist feminists bigots (read mainstream feminists) come. Said bigots often try to brainwash/force all women to run for President or to ‘lean in’ and suffer the predictable backlash from the rest of their sisters. 2) 60% of women prefer to balance less work with more home life. 3) 20% of women are full time homemakers who prefer not to work at all. 4) Men tend to have little interest in anything but more work because work brings status and status brings sex…which men generally can’t ‘earn’ any other way since women hold the superior sex cards. 5) Biology rules and sociology (‘gender’-as-sex-feminism) stools on work life balance topics, but don’t tell that to the Women’s Studies fascists or you’ll be falsely accused of misogyny or sexism.

    That said, the real story here is the Death Gap between the sexes. Men do 98% of the combat dying, 95% of the workplace dying, and 5+plus years of additional actuarial table dying (likely thanks to the dangerous stresses that men bear as the Disposable Sex). It’s less than amusing to listen to feminists lie endlessly about their utterly imaginary ‘gender pay gap’ oppression while totally ignoring the Death Gap altogether…but of course it isn’t surprising because all these fascists know how to do is to lie, cheat, and steal for false female supremacist power…paid for in blood, sweat and tears…by you guessed it, the Disposable Sex.

    Of course, there are many great things which fine feminine females bring to the table. In the Good Ole Days men were willing to die (and kill) for female/feminine contributions because there once was some sort of sex/gender parity between men and women. Sadly, though men who die (and kill) for today’s ‘killer’ feminist are simply committing very foolish suicide as chivalrous sex objects, as socially subjugated slaves, or as ‘gendered’ metrosexual monkeys.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @0003e358a89867db100bf246375feacf:disqus – I know I can ALWAYS count on you for provocative comments in these columns – sure wish you’d stop being anonymous!?

    • David W.

      Bruce, this person is your soul brother or soul sister! Embrace him/her!

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        No one knows me LONGER (notice I didn’t say “better”) than you @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus

  • Pingback: The Impossible Dream: #WorkLifeBalance | Bruce Sallan Radio Show | Bruce Sallan()

  • jack43

    Work vs Life? That seems strange. Is work death? In the current economy, we seem to be overly focused on work – either keeping it or getting it. It’s a viewpoint born of necessity. I was fortunate to retire when Obama became President (or rather, I was forced to retire when he became President) and I get to focus on other balances – physical vs spiritual vs intellectual. You may not realize it, but you should envy me.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @jack43:disqus – I didn’t put “vs” between work and life – just a dash. Besides, it’s a contemporary expression and worthy of discussion. FYI, I retired when I was 45…now, while I “work” very hard, the “need” is not there so I’m mostly doing what I want. I envy me! LOL…

  • David W.

    I wouldn’t know where to begin to comment on this. Any one of us is probably choosing too often to spend at or on work time that could be used for reflection, conversation and a variety of personally-desirable cultural pursuits that would enrich our lives.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      You just did comment on this – well @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus