Balancing Career And Personal Life
Balancing Career And Personal Life
Stefanie Schaeffer (Winner, NBC's "The Apprentice" Season 6) gives expert video advice on: How do you balance your personal life with such a successful career?; How do you keep your social life going when you have so much to do at work?; What comes first, family and friends or work? and more...
How do you balance your personal life with such a successful career?
Anything in life that's good and that works is because there's a balance. For me, I try to put a little bit of fun into every single day. Whether I'm traveling, whether I have an intense day of meetings, whether I'm in trial, whatever I happen to be doing. I try to put little tidbits of something that I consider to be relaxing or fun throughout the day to get me enthused. I'm incentive based. I know that personally for me I work that way. If I have something to look forward to, I'm out to perform better and to have a better attitude, so that's just what works for me. Making sure not to become so absorbed in the professional aspect of things that you leave out your loved ones and your family because that's how you alienate people and that's how you end up divorced and so forth.
How do you keep your social life going when you have so much to do at work?
I try to block out as much time as I can which is difficult because I tend to be a workaholic. I enjoy the pressure and I like the stress and I like the - you know, there's a couple different kinds of stress. There's you stress which is good stress and there's distress which is obviously the bad kind. But good stress is the kind of stress that the pressure of your daily activates allows you to kind of thrive on it and you're energized by it and you turn it into something fun and so what I do is I try to look at my weekly calendar. I'm visual. I know in today's technological age that everyone's got their Blackberry, their pda. It's all paperless. I'm old fashioned. I like my steno pad for my to-do list and it sits on the passenger seat of my car. And I like my weekly, black, good old fashioned, cheap little weekly calendar that I can look at each day and say "Wow, that Friday night, honey, let's go to dinner." Or this Saturday morning I'm going to go to the gym that day and then I can see what I have to look forward to for the rest of the week. And so all these meetings and all these owners kinds of tasks and things aren't so bad because I've scheduled in visually, fun things to do, whether it's a Pilates class or going to lunch with my mom or seeing a movie, or going to play a round of golf with my family. Something like that to really keep us together, keep us connected and I can actually see that over a seven day period, wow, that's a lot of work and not very much for the family. Is this week all about me or am I putting myself out there to do something decent, something helpful and something good. Is there any charity work in there? And so, for me personally, and it's different for everyone, for me that really works. It's very effective.
What comes first, family and friends or work?
I learned pretty early on that to have friends you have to be a friend. At one point, I became so absorbed in my career as an attorney that I really stopped communicating with my friends and I didn't make time. I realized Christmas would come around and Hanukkah would come around and suddenly I was getting fewer and fewer cards and I thought "Wow" and I would call my friends and say "What's going on?" or "How are you?" and they would say "Well I just never hear from you". It's not a one way street, you have to be a friend, so create a social network because your social network is your emotional support system, and it doesn't go just one way. It's for you to help your friends and to help your loved ones and your family and to really be there for them. Things happen in life every day and believe it or not if you're there for someone and you're the ear to listen to a problem, if you're the shoulder for someone to cry on, they remember. It makes you feel good, it fulfils you and it gives you the energy to go out and be even more dynamic in the professional realm. So, there really is an important balance there, it's for your own inner well-being.
How do you stop your personal life from interfering with work?
For me personally, I have an ability to compartmentalize things that are happening in my life. So, if there's someone who's sick or, god forbid, someone was dying or whatever it happens to be. If there's tragedy of some sort or there's just the daily pressures of life where things are going on and you're, you know, you have things to do, it's hectic, not the most fun types of things that creep into your mind, you have to be able to sort of leave it at the door, and when you're getting on a plane to go to work or you're getting into your car to drive to work, whatever it is, you just say "OK, I'll deal with that when I get home. Right now, this is the job I have to do. Right now, I owe this 110% to my client or I owe all of myself to the task at hand." Whatever it is that you're doing, and you just have to get used to being able to say, "This is going to be here when I get back, I'll deal with this a little later." Because if you're thinking about the things that are sort of the mundane things in life or the things that are bothering you, we all have drama going on all the time, everyone does. If you think about that and then you try and go and do your job, you're really not giving a hundred percent to either one. So you owe it to yourself, your family, whoever it is that you're working for, or with, to really focus in on what you're doing and put the rest of it aside. Go back to it later. Write it down if it makes you, if it relieves your mind, if your able to just sort of dump it all on paper, prioritize it, and deal with it later, you'll feel so much better and you'll really be far more productive.
Is it OK to get involved with a coworker romantically?
Most of us spend about 80 percent of our lives at work. That's generally speaking where people meet and get married. It isn't realistic to say that it's completely wrong because that's just where you spend the bulk of your time, and when you have commonality with someone and when you're working on projects together and when you're with people who you're spending most of your time with, you're going to develop a friendship, a kinship, a mutual admiration, and so to say it's completely wrong would be unrealistic. Do I believe that relationships between coworkers in the office environment are appropriate? I would say if it interferes with your work it's not appropriate. Anything that interferes with what you're being paid to do, anything that takes away from your best effort is not appropriate, whether it's a romance or some other reason. Is it okay to have a relationship with your boss? Is that different than a coworker? I don't know. I think if you keep your personal life out of the office with no one else knows, if it's not interfering with the job at hand, fine.