10 Hot IT Jobs That Deliver Work-Life Balance - InformationWeek

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10/22/2015
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10 Hot IT Jobs That Deliver Work-Life Balance

Ten IT jobs made the cut on Glassdoor's 25 Best Jobs For Work-Life Balance. In fact, the No. 1 job on the list is IT-related. If you're struggling with work-life balance in your own career, you'll want to have a look at these positions and see how your job stacks up. It might be time to polish up that resume or learn some new skills.
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(Image: baona/iStockphoto)

(Image: baona/iStockphoto)

If you work in IT, "work-life balance" may not be the first phrase that springs to mind when you're asked to describe your current position. Yet, 10 IT jobs made the cut on Glassdoor's 25 Best Jobs For Work-Life Balance. In fact, the No. 1 job on the list is IT-related.

These 10 IT positions collectively account for more than 12,524 of the total IT job postings currently open on Glassdoor. The IT position with the best work-life balance rating also happens to be the highest paid.

If you're struggling with work-life balance in your own career, you'll want to have a look at these positions and see how your job stacks up. It might be time to polish up that resume or learn some new skills.

[ Stop! Don't take that new job until you get these questions answered. ]

Glassdoor complied its list by studying more than 60,000 job reviews posted on its website. Reviewers rate the work-life balance of their jobs on a on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). From January 1 through October 10, 2015, the average work-life balance ranking among all Glassdoor reviewers was 3.2. According to Glassdoor, work-life balance has decreased in recent years. In 2009, employees reported an average work-life balance satisfaction rating of 3.5 in 2009, and in 2012 the average rating was 3.4.

For a job title to be considered for Glassdoor’s report on the 25 Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance, job titles must have at least 75 work-life balance ratings shared by US-based employees in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2015, and the reviews have to represent employees at a minimum of 75 companies. In addition, at least 15% of the reviews posted for the job titles that meet this criteria must also include "work life balance" and/or related terms as a positive aspect of the job. Job titles considered for the report must have at least 200 active job listings on Glassdoor as of Oct. 1, 2015.

For your convenience, we're highlighting the 10 IT jobs that made the cut to qualify for the 25 Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance. The worst of these positions have an average work-life balance rating of 3.7, while the best is rated 4.2.

Check out the work-life balance rating, average salary for that title according to Glassdoor, and the number of nationwide openings for each position.

If your job is on the list, then tell us in the comments section below if your experience aligns with the Glassdoor work-life balance rating. If your job doesn't make the list, tell us about your work-life balance, and whether you're thinking about making any career moves after seeing how other positions are rated.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2015 | 2:04:10 PM
No Managers
Interesting all these jobs you do actual deliverable work versus a management postion that it becomes much tougher tell what they do. My observation is management forces you to work long hours to keep up appearances, since telling a good manager from a bad one is not a straightforward thing. 

Well, unless you work for them. :-) I remember the IT mgr for a company in Dallas that bought our company. I could tell that in the past his technical skills were probably pretty good, how he got to manager in first place. But this company was so ate up politically that this guy came to work every day at 7am and went home about 8-9pm at night. From a getting work done perspective it made no sense, he was just "showing how much he cared". Didn't do him any good, about a year after they bought us they got bought and ceased to exist.

Another anecdote on this hypothesis. My current company implemented Lean, which part of the system was having weekly meetings between supervisors and their reports, updating to a cockpit chart. I jokingly asked why nobody wanted to meet with me weekly to get project status updates. Our Plant Mgr replied "we don't need to, we see and use the work that you do".  That's a good place to be. Well, unless you actually like meetings. :-)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/22/2015 | 2:17:16 PM
Re: No Managers
@terryb- I think you are right about the visble product helping. I don't know whether it is really fair to say that you can measure a developer by the number of lines of code they write or a QA analyst by the number of bugs they find, but if you do write a million lines of code in 8 hours, no one is goign to say you didn't come to work.

What are we measuring bosses on? "Oh, I can go home, I yelled 15 times today."
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2015 | 1:45:30 AM
Re: No Managers
"...What are we measuring bosses on? "Oh, I can go home, I yelled 15 times today."

 

Just recently encountered the boss that likes to put you on the spot in front of your colleagues at a high pitch, really trying to understand that management style.

I won't try too long though, because I will eventually fight (yell) back, no patience for that kind of management style.

Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2015 | 5:02:34 PM
Re: No Managers
Let me list one other job, and it has the perfect work-life balance. The freelance technology writer!
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 1:28:30 PM
Re: No Managers
@gary you are correct. It has the highest work life balance.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 12:36:25 PM
Re: No Managers
Work life balance is an important aspect. I have seen this has become one of the top resignation reasons in most of the companies. Especially in the field  of IT. 
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 12:39:13 PM
Re: No Managers
I would love to know the factors considered to calculate the work life balance index.  Is it just scaling your satisfaction in 1-5 scale.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 1:07:05 PM
Re: No Managers
@terry I agree with you. This mainly happens at the front end. But when you become senior and hits the managerial level, people tend to forget their past and how they work.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2015 | 1:38:10 AM
Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......

Work-Life balance in IT ?  I was certain that this was not possible yet I did find it somewhat in this past year as a freelance engineer.  It was really nice and just recently I took a gig in the industry I have worked in for many years only to be reminded that it is the reason I am so skeptical of work-life balance in IT.

I am going to try to stay for awhile since I am finally being compensated for my expertise, however I am leaning towards going back to freelancing because of this issue of work-life balance.

vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2015 | 2:52:43 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@Technocrati - I feel like Freelancing or Consulting are truly the only ways to have "true" work-life balance because you call some of the shots and decide what projects you are willing to take on, as well as having a say in defining the scope of the project.  

I know there are some companies out there that promote their committment to work-life balance.  My firm is one of them.  But the reality is, we're not approved to work any OT unless it is billable back to the client or a dire emergency, so I pretty much have to complete whatever is thrown at me in one day by 5:30 pm, no ifs, ands, or buts.  So I have to run around like a crazy person most days - I would call that "imbalanced."
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/25/2015 | 4:36:05 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......

@venewman2    When I worked in traditional settings I very rarely found much Work-Life Balance.  Only a couple even tried.   But those advantages of freelancing you mention are prime reasons I am drawn to it.

The ability to call some of the shots is very rewarding, especially when you have been forced to endure a non-techie boss in your past. 

It is an empowerment that those who have labored long in the field deserve and should experience.

That said, it's surly not for everyone.

Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/25/2015 | 10:17:50 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
Very enlightening article. I was unaware of  some of those IT positions. The salaries and work-life balance factor is enticing enough for me to consider learning new skills and changing careers. I also really liked the picture of the worker working, while habing is feet in the pool. That beats the commute to work, dressing in "work clothes", and everything else that comes with going into the office everyday.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2015 | 10:58:38 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
Some companies treat their higher posted IT people grandly. For example my friend in Google never had to work more than 6-8 hours per day, and he never took his laptop home for continuing his work. He said that as long as you get a target, doesn't matter how much you work. As soon as he fulfilled the target for the day, he used to go home.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2015 | 10:55:43 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
Freelancing has got its own merits and demerits. Big projects come from time to time and they require hard labour. The only problem is that when we outsource software development on a project, it is not synchronized with the headquarter's software development team. And this increases the time to follow up.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 2:09:14 AM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@yalanand    Thanks for mentioning a highly overlooked piece of the IT model - software development. Though I have not worked in the field in many years, I am aware of the issue you raise.

I was quite surprised to hear it mentioned because the conflict between inside and outside development efforts is so often overlooked, one would think a Project Mgr. would raise this point but maybe they don't read IW which exposes yet another problem.

But your issue is real and kudos to you for mentioning it.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2015 | 5:00:07 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@technocrati- I can see how freelance can offer you freedom. But I think it depends on the types of gigs you get. I found when freelancing when I was getting lots of short term gigs I felt I lost work-life balance because I was always looking for the next gig. Longer assignments were better from that point of view but they felt a lot like just working for the company. I;m wondering if freelance offers the illusion of more balance simply because we know that we can quit a freelance job easier than a permanent job. It gives us the courage to do what we could in any job-- leave the office when we need to.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2015 | 8:33:54 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@David - you make a great counterpoint.  If you are hustling for the next thing then you probably won't have much of a "life" to speak of, unless that's what makes you tick.  Some people find it exhilarating; others, exhausting.  
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/25/2015 | 4:29:10 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......

@David  Good points.  And I agree.  It really depends on the gig you get. If you are running around trying to find the next gig - that is stressful.  The major sign that your Work-Life balance is going down the drain.

So it really does depend on what you mention - the type of gig you get.

Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/25/2015 | 10:20:00 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@Technocrati, I suppose you have a point. I know a few people that work from home and complain that they have less quality time with their family than when they reported to work in an office type setting.  I especially here this from mothers who telecommute.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 2:21:52 AM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@Angelfuego  Sure sign that they have the wrong gig.  Not saying it is easy to find by any means, the odds probably are no better than 1 out of 10 if you are persistent.  But when you do - it is the best.  

But at least your friends are at home and generating income when all is said and done.

I have worked from home as well so I can relate, and when it gets frustrating I remind myself of the above.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 8:57:02 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@tECHNOCRATI, Very true. They are fortunate to be employed and to have an income. Despite the drawbacks, it does sound great to not commute, work in your pajamas without make up, and ssometimes even have a flexible schedule.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 11:06:48 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
Freelancing is a very good way to Keep out of constant pressure. Although it may have some challenges but overall I think freelancing is pretty good.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/25/2015 | 10:24:17 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@David, I think it depends on the worker's personality, in addition to the type and length of the gig.  I am always preoccupied with trying to obtain and maintain financial stability for the present moment, as well as for the future. I happen to be a anxious-ridden person and couldn't feel comfortable unless it was a "permanent" position.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2015 | 10:51:37 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
Correction. No IT job has good enough work life balance. Yes most major companies promise you a ton of benefits. Like how IBM gave me access to a high tech gym for free. But where is the time? I get around 12-14 hours of free time everyday and I prefer to spend time with my family. Ad you move up the IT ladder, your physical labour decreases but with huge responsibilities your mental pressure increases.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 2:15:59 AM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
"...Ad you move up the IT ladder, your physical labour decreases but with huge responsibilities your mental pressure increases."

@yalanand I am going to this now. Finally found a position to test me but the constaint mental strain is a drain.  And it is interesting to reflect on your wanting to use your free time to be with your family.  I can totally relate, which makes me think companies need to re-evaluate the employee composition.

Not all of us are "wanna hipsters" or that new generation of whatever they are called.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 1:34:56 PM
Re: Is the Grass Greener ? Sometimes it is......
@david I agree with you. You surely must have felt, it's better to be in an office job than doing freelancing work.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2015 | 9:49:48 AM
Low Job Count and the necessary evil.
For these top 10 jobs, I find it interesting the number of "open" positions listed nationally is quite low in my opinion.  For example, just 500 web developer positions open?  Its been my experience work life balance has more to do with the company and its leadership than the actual position itself.  Since most IT departments report to the finanical executive,  all IT jobs are treated like necessary evils. 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2015 | 1:05:39 PM
Re: Low Job Count and the necessary evil.
No more evil than A/P clerks and other positions which don't directly add value to whatever your company's product is. But you'd be surprised how much CFO warms up when you create systems which eliminate/prevent clerical positions. Or create system they would otherwise pay for and then drop another bundle on integration/implementation work. Or radically improve key metrics like inventory days and OTIF with system enhancements.

That's some bottom line math they easily understand. :-)  I do agree with you it gets a little fuzzy at larger places where your job is keeping the IT plumbing working. Probably the worst is in security, where job success is measured on keepng something bad from happening. That's tough for them to get their head around at bottom line. Although much easier today with all these high profile attacks/breaches.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2015 | 4:56:09 PM
Re: Low Job Count and the necessary evil.
@ddurbin1- Those are open positions listed on Glassdoor alone. I can't testify as to how many there are open that aren't listed there. I suspect there are always more.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2015 | 4:56:10 PM
Re: Low Job Count and the necessary evil.
@ddurbin1- Those are open positions listed on Glassdoor alone. I can't testify as to how many there are open that aren't listed there. I suspect there are always more.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/23/2015 | 4:56:13 PM
Re: Low Job Count and the necessary evil.
@ddurbin1- Those are open positions listed on Glassdoor alone. I can't testify as to how many there are open that aren't listed there. I suspect there are always more.
dried_squid
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dried_squid,
User Rank: Moderator
10/23/2015 | 2:22:02 PM
IT Morality
    I once discussed with the hotel controller the uncertainty of IT success. To a certain extent, accounting and IT are similar. The general public's ideas of your "success" is based on their knowledge of something they don't want to do. Or know. Just results.

    My point was that while much of my work was behind the scenes preventive maintenance, this lessened my ablility to look good because my fixes were fast and easy. No big problems - no glory. No big results. All for 60+ hrs and 24x7x365. BTW, the food and health plan were good.

    Work-life balance? Maybe it depends if it's job, or a calling.

    I was a bartender for many years, and one thing i learned in my early twenties was there were men who were proud of the money they made at work for it's ability to provide for their family, but they did not seem to like going to that work. It seemed to be only the money.

    Can one take disposable income out of the question?
tag4001
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tag4001,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2015 | 5:47:20 AM
Identity crisis...
IT doesn't have a work life balance because IT has big enough of a headache trying convey a clear identity.  Seems like anything remotely connected to a "computer" is IT nowadays.. everything but the kitchen sink.

Back when, wouldn't a developer been classified as a programmer, and those dealing with data and db related work been classified in the DB category?

Quite frankly, it seems that being a programmer-related role is the key to a work life balance.  But then again, programming isn't something one can simply and quickly pick up.  It takes years of experience to hone in on the skill.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 1:05:05 PM
Re: Identity crisis...
@tag4001  I hear you on kitchen sink problem. I get manage the darn cell phones also because they consider that "IT technology".  :-(  Life at a small company.

For most part you are correct on programming. But it really depends on who you work for and what they do. If the company writes software products, you have a never ending string of release dates to hit. If you work in Mfg like I do, the systems need to work 24x7. You don't quit working if a shopfloor program is down or accounting has problem during monthend closing.

But once you get things stable, work schedule is pretty steady. I rarely get calls after hours now, rarely work weekends, and rarely work more than 40 hours. And I'm the only IT guy onsite, with 3 separate plants to support in area. But it didn't happen overnight.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 11:55:23 AM
which companies?
I wonder how much of this is company culture as opposed to the job title. I've known the same positions at two different companies with vastly different cultures. At one you rarely worked past 8 hours a day, the atmosphere was friendly and professional allowing for flex scheduling to deal with family events and issues. The other company was 60 hour weeks and they worked you hard till you left for elsewhere. Even within teams at the same company work life balance can be vastly different.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
10/28/2015 | 11:59:46 AM
Delicate Balance

Work life balance is very subjective and that's what makes it difficult to manage. For some employees it means getting out of work at a set time every day, for others it means panned peak periods for others it means flexibility to leave early when needed. To achieve a work life balance that suits an employee the discussion needs to be open and honest. If the expectations are not understood up front it just harbors discontent on both sides.

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
10/28/2015 | 12:04:42 PM
Re: Delicate Balance
@impactnow- I agree it means different things to different people, but I think the interesting thing is the solution is always the same-- respectful management that trusts you to get your work done and that clearly spells out your responsibilities.

If management requires facetime to feel like you are really working, then basically you're toast no matter how "flexible" they say they are. 
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
10/28/2015 | 12:47:33 PM
Re: Delicate Balance

Dave I agree, bed checking just undermines trust. I don't practice it and have only been burned once when an employee asked me for some flexibility during their move. They really wanted to take a trip abroad and didn't want to take vacation time. They told a number of people in the company where they were and it was all over. Every other time I found employees that worked above and beyond because they appreciated the trust.

shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 1:35:20 PM
work life balance
In my opinion work life balance is an important aspect irrespective of your field. However based on the work load and gravity of work sometimes it is really difficult to stick with the 8 hours shift. I have seen some people skip their break times because of the work load.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2015 | 7:07:56 PM
Re: work life balance

In corporate jobs I rarely if ever got a break and usually ate my lunch during conference calls or meetings. Eight hour days were a rarity especially in IT where my phone would ring at all hours with issues. It is the reality of living in a 24/7 connected world, burnout is a major issue.

shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2015 | 8:42:45 PM
Re: work life balance
I agree with you. Sometimes you feel the 8 hour shift is not sufficient to finish your work. Mainly when you have meetings on a daily basis. 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 11:10:18 PM
Re: work life balance
@Shamika: Only those people work long hours who don't have a social life, who are living away from their family. Also some work centres have good indoor food and entertainment sources, so youngsters don't leave.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
11/2/2015 | 5:12:24 PM
Re: work life balance
@SachinEE, some big Co. do have everything on site, it like you could live on you job site :)
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
11/2/2015 | 3:02:39 PM
Re: work life balance
@shamika, this days it more like 10 hours - how I see it... or feel it...
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 9:01:14 PM
Re: work life balance
@impACTNOW, I agree. It is a 24 hour a day job and can be exhausting. I think employers should be more sensitive to this and not expect you to be working around the clock, even if the technology allows for that. There needs to be boundaries, limitations, and realistic expectations that support a balance that would reduce us getting burnt out.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2015 | 11:03:54 PM
Re: work life balance
@Angelfuego: That I'd exactly the problem. Bosses tend to think they are doing good motivational work for the employees by krrping them under pressure. But it is the exact opposite. Employees don't care about working long hours.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
11/19/2015 | 5:21:33 PM
Re: work life balance
@Sachinee, They are mistaken. Applying preesure on me and working around the clock makes me want to crack, not work harder.
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