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Do we have a work-life balance anymore?

What is work-life balance these days? 

I accidentally on purpose started an interesting debate on LinkedIn. It began because someone posted on LinkedIn how proud they were of celebrating their sixteenth wedding anniversary, with photos of their wedding from 1995, and tagging a load of people.  

I found it annoying. I go on Facebook to see that sort of stuff. I don’t want to see it on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is for business. 

In fact, in my own head, LinkedIn was launched and is for professional networking about business; Facebook is for sharing social and family life; and Twitter is in between. Obviously, it is no longer as clear-cut as that as, when I wrote this on LinkedIn, a lot of people disagreed. 

… and it got more comments and discussions than I‘ve seen for a while. 

The over-arching theme is that the delineation between business and personal life no longer applies, and people who don’t share some more personal perspective cannot be trusted. But what personal perspective on LinkedIn? Going back to my original premise, I pushed back and said that I’m happy for people to tell me personal stuff that is interesting from a professional perspective, but I’m not interested in seeing the blisters on their foot from a 10k run. The latter should be on Facebook.  

But then we are all meeting today on videocalls, seeing each others’ studies, lounges, kitchens and bedrooms; seeing our colleague dressing down, cuddling a cat, patting a dog or disciplining a child. Work and life has become mixed. 

But then, the core of the question is: what is work life these days? Is there a work-life balance? When locked down at home, we can all see our living rooms on Zoom calls, and often our work colleagues are sharing their family life and even their family members on our meetings. 

This is very new and different. It was only four years ago – 2017 – that this clip went viral worldwide. 

It went viral because it was funny. Now, it’s normal. It’s normal purely because of lockdown, however. Has lockdown changed us forever? Is WFH creating a new work life where home life is part of the structure? IS there now no separation between work and life? What does work-life balance mean? 

I find these questions interesting as, when I started work, you shared nothing in the office. You shared personal stuff over a beer, after work with the colleagues you liked the most, then you left it there 

That changed as we started to spend more time together on travels but, even then, it stayed separate. 

When Facebook launched, I made the mistake of connecting with everyone and realised quite rapidly that my personal life is personal. I don’t want to share that with everyone and anyone. Hence, I rapidly moved to two profiles – one where work colleagues could connect and another where they could not. 

Nevertheless, business was business (LinkedIn), social was social (Facebook) and some were mixed (Twitter), and those categories stayed quite clear in my own mind. 

Now, I find that people tag me, copy me, nudge me and do even worse all of the time. I removed tagging on LinkedIn and Twitter after 1,000 updates that were of no interest tagged me. Nevertheless, they still find me through @ signs and DMs. Luckilyit’s not the 1,000 a day I got before. 

Anyway, I know it’s not necessarily popular to say so but guys, LinkedIn is a business network first and foremost. It has lots of annoying things in it (Part One and Part Two), but I find it useful for business. 

A couple of people’s comments who pulled me up on this. 

Dara said “anyone connected to me also knows I am a proud mother of three”. I have no problem with that at all. Anyone who knows me – business or personal – knows that I am a proud father of two little four-year old boys. I say proud – HUMONGOUS – but  I won’t post their pictures anywhere online, because I don’t want to invade their privacy (except on my private social Facebook profile that links to friends who I know only). 

Quintin says “working from home might be blurring the line for some people”. It definitely is, I agree. I’ve done far more casual keynotes and speaking and meeting than ever before since March last year. But, come the great unlock … 

Jeff Koterba, Omaha World-Herald

Source: Denver Post

Richard says “little men have to appear serious and important all the time else their balloon bursts. He expanded upon that theme and claims  “I have no sympathy with so-called men who don’t like personal things being mentioned in business or around business—- they fear the personal because they are psychopaths”. Interesting take …  

I could go on, but there’s a line that exists between work and personal even now, and maybe people have lost the plot on when that line is crossed. The line is: I don’t want to know about your hernia operation, that you don’t like eating something crunchy during movies because you can’t hear the plot, or that you changed your car horn to the sound of gun shots to get people to move faster out of your way or … on LinkedIn or any professional network.  

Stick that stuff somewhere else. 



During lockdown, I did start posting YouTube videos of songs I like on LinkedIn. Whatever … 


About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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