It's been a week since we've come back from India and I've quickly resumed my German studies while Christoph has been in Frankfurt attending a trade fair. I've been busy but when I speak with family and friends, it is sometimes difficult to say what I have been up to exactly- other than the obvious travelling. Our lifestyle isn't 'normal' for most, but what is these days?
I read an interesting article about Patrick Pichette, Google CFO, who recently retired at the ripe old age of 52. He plans to go backpacking around the world with his wife after almost 30 years of non-stop work. The article posed a thought-provoking question; is a work/life balance possible? Do you have to quit your job in order to enjoy your life?
As most of you know, Christoph and I took a year off in 2009 to travel. He didn't quit his job nor did we plan to be taking a time-out. Although we didn't expect his work to end, we luckily had the 'when you get lemons, you make lemonade' mentality and even luckier, the means to pull it off. So we saw it as an opportunity for Christoph to have a break from the corporate grind and for us to enjoy some quality time together. At the time, what we did didn't seem to be normal, but now when we look back and around us, it comes across as being not so unusual anymore. We've met lots of people in our travels who have taken time off from work; some three months, others two years.
So what is a work/life balance? What is normal? The corporate world is a very different place to what it was for our parents' generation. Nowadays it's rare for people to retire in the jobs they started their careers with. Some of the jobs that young kids can choose from now, I hadn't even heard of when I finished school! When did fashion blogging become a full-time job? And how about a Global Mobility Consultant or a Computational Linguist? Can these modern jobs provide more work/life balance? Are they geared that way? Here's Patrick Pichette's actual resignation notice. What do you think?
For Christoph and I, I think we've learnt a few things from living in China about creating a work/life balance. So while we currently don't have a full-time job to talk about, we'll use the time to work on the life part :o)