Stuck at home during the first Coronavirus lockdown, I noticed that many of the podcasts and articles I enjoyed listening to and reading mostly covered stories of people celebrated for their impressive accomplishments and accolades.
It started to get under my skin that this was a narrow representation of success. What about those people who are not “breaking glass ceilings” in their careers, or scaling the heights of the organisations they work for, but balancing their time at work with other things in their lives?
As enforced home-working became universal, so too did the notion of flexible working. I loved the idea of showcasing and celebrating role models from across the flexible working spectrum, and giving voice to the multitude of work-life balance possibilities for both men and women, seeking understanding of the motivations behind individuals’ choices.
And so I created my blog, A Fine Balance, to do just that.
Now, as we settle in to our second national lockdown, I’ve been looking back on the interviews I’ve conducted since then, and the stories I’ve been entrusted to tell – each one individually complex, raw and personal.
They are, as I’d imagined they’d be, multifaceted and diverse – from Sheara’s story of the challenges of full-time working motherhood, to Marsha’s story of redundancy and adjusting to becoming a stay-at-home-mum after a high-flying career as a City professional.
Tahmid’s story emphasised how flexible working is not just an issue for working parents, and both he and Darren’s “Confessions of a Workaholic”, touched on the impact of burnout for entirely different reasons.
Sarah’s story conversely demonstrated how not all definitions of success are career-driven. And both she and Darren spoke of their experiences of imposter syndrome, from uniquely female and male perspectives.
People continue to approach me to nominate friends or colleagues, or put themselves forward, to tell their stories. I fit my interviewing and writing in amongst a busy home and work schedule, yet I’m motivated to continue carving out the time for my blog because I believe in the value of telling these stories. And I have learned from, and been inspired by, each one that I write.
Fitting remote-working flexibly around home life does not automatically equate with a balanced lifestyle. It comes down to how we purposefully choose to spend our time. There is much to be gained from understanding our own and others’ work values.
If you’ve enjoyed reading my posts, please do let me know in the usual ways. I’m an amateur at these things but I’ve noticed that liking posts and following social media accounts enables my articles to reach more people.
I’ve been encouraged by readers that the insights shared by my generous subjects have provoked compassion, inspiration and self-reflection too. So I figure that can only be a good thing to pass on.