Why Work+Life Fit vs. Balance: One Person’s Spot On Perspective

It’s one thing for me to passionately extol the virtues of shifting from work-life “balance” to work+life “fit.”  It’s quite another for someone else to explain why it makes a difference for them.

During a recent Knowledge@Wharton interview on SiriusXM, Morra Aarons-Mele, author of Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Guide to Getting Out There When You’d Really Rather Stay Home, was asked “What most people call work/life balance, you call work/life fit. Explain the difference for us.”  Here’s what she said:

“The term was coined by a mentor of mine, Cali Yost, [CEO and founder of Flex Strategy Group]. I love it because, first of all, work/life balance is a lie. Anyone can tell you that. I don’t like work/life balance for two other reasons. The first is that I think it’s become totally twinned with parenthood and being a working mom, and that is not good for anyone. There are a lot of people who don’t have kids at home and who really crave a life. Let’s be honest: It’s not about having kids.

The other thing is that we want to work in a way that suits us, like we just talked about. You’re on, and then you’re off for a little while. That’s your work-life fit. I have friends, clients, my husband, who love to work all the time. I don’t judge them. That’s their work-life fit. I really love my work, but I need to work in a space that I can control.

I am no good at showing up at an office for 10 hours a day and sitting in an open-plan cubicle. That’s not my thing. I’m bad at it. But give me control over my time and space, and I’m amazing. I think fit is about what works for you, with compromise at the edges, and becoming the best person you can be in your career. It’s so much healthier than balance.”

Spot on, Morra! And thank you for the shout out. 😉