The Daily Targum - Rutgers University
Issue: 1/31/05

Seminar teaches how to balance work with personal lives
By Mike Berg

Only 2 percent of people believe they have an adequate balance between their work and personal lives, said Lynn Schaber, a corporate and career management coach and University College graduate.

The University's Career Services sponsored seminar Wednesday by Schaber titled "Work-Life Balance: Is it Possible? That is the Question" as part of its weekly Alumni Networking and Support Group. An audience of about 20 undergraduates and alumni gathered to learn Schaber's balancing techniques.

The audience participated in an interactive lecture as Schaber preached the importance of focusing on one's self.

"What I first learned to do was focus on me," Schaber said. "If you want a machine to work for you, you have to oil it, repair it and give it some down time."

She discovered this mentality while working as a manager in the customer service industry.

"I was hurting, I was unhealthy and my family was getting the short end of the stick," Schaber said, while reflecting on her times before work-life balance.

After hiring her own corporate coach who would eventually lead her to "rapid personal and professional growth," Schaber said she discovered a model that would help her focus on what she really wants - the life wheel.

"The life wheel breaks your life into six sections: leisure, spirituality, family, contribution to others, health and finally, work," Schaber said.

Audience members were asked to essentially create their own life wheel, where they decided how important each aspect of the wheel was to them and how much time and energy they spend on those aspects. Ideally, the wheel should be broken up into six equivalent sections to achieve a pleasing work-life balance, Schaber said.

"Once you start to get [the life wheel] in focus and figure it out, then you can really do what you want to do with your life," Schaber said. "It's like a budget. If it's not working for you, adjust it as you go along. That's what life is all about."

Steve Brooks, a Rutgers-Newark alumnus and self-proclaimed regular at Career Services events, said he plans to use the life wheel model in the near future.

"At the moment, I'm working part time, so it was good preparation for when I have a full-time job," Brooks said. "She made some great points of balancing the six categories."

Before opening up a question and answer session, Schaber left the audience with a final thought. Summarizing the central theme of her seminar, "Make your life a priority! Start now!" was displayed on the final page of her presentation.

This left some audience members, like 2003 University graduate Pin Chien, inspired and excited to change the way they approach their work-life balancing.

"I work in an IT department, and when I'm working on a big project, it becomes hard for me to balance everything in my life," Chien said. "I'm going to ask my manager to cut down my work days. Maybe I can take one day off during the week."

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