Those of us who lived through the aftermath of the financial crisis might think my headline sounds silly. This is sensible; thinking back to a once-in-century economic downturn would make any reasonable person do anything they can to stay employed.
But a friend and I exchanged those very words while discussing what’s usually called work-life balance. The gist of what she was saying was that there are only so many hours in a day and work doesn’t deserve any more than the time I already throw at it. And, she continued, if work wanted me to have those skills so bad, then maybe THEY should be paying for my classes.
So what now, Mario?
I understand where she’s coming from and why keeping work at work is generally good advice. As she said, you can’t let work keep you from living life.
So why would I even think of doing work at home?
The learning that prompted this discussion is a class I’m taking on the R programming language. R is a statistical package that’s at once lightweight and powerful.
My interest in R stems from being curious about economics and statistics that would give me better insight on how the world of money works. I’ve never been able to stop myself from craving more of this knowledge, and so while getting stronger at a programming language might help my company (and probably make for more insightful research for this blog); I’m still doing it for me.
As for work-life balance, I don’t know how anyone can spend a third of their time doing something — work or otherwise — and not think that it makes up part of their life. For this reason, the goal I’ve been trying to work toward is work-life blending — where I find what it is about work that I love, and I seek out hobbies and skills that benefit both my work and my life.
And so with R as with other skills, I’ll keep messing around in my spare time working on projects I enjoy and perhaps I’ll accidentally learn something.
And if in doing so, I help my company, then that’ll be great. But to a greater extent, I’ll be helping myself.