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Work/Life Balance: Finding The Right Company For You

February 7th, 2018

My friend Robert Dagnall, a resume professional in Southern California, said “I’d like to read about your experience with work/life balance as you move into this new role.” Here are my thoughts after two days working there (and lots of research).

When I started interviewing at BambooHR I had read that they were one of Utah’s top company’s to work for. They’ve even gotten national recognition as best company to work for. You hear about all the perks from tech companies like unlimited free food, game rooms, laundry, massage, transportation to your living quarters, etc… to me it sounds ridiculously expensive (and it is). As a business owner I wonder how sustainable those perks are, but then you think about how profitable the companies are and then wonder why they don’t buy rocket ships for everyone.

Back to BambooHR. They don’t have a cafeteria… they barely have a couple of break rooms with a few fridges. They proudly boast they don’t have game rooms, and nowhere have I found any of the other perks mentioned above. What I have found is a culture where they live work/life balance. This is not just something they talk about in their job descriptions to hook you in, or something they quietly live. This is something they reinforce and protect vigilintly.

When I talk about “finding the right company” I mean you have to find the company that is right for you. I have five kids and a life. There is no way I could live at work… eat three meals there? No way. I need to be with my family. Do my laundry there? Play games after work? Look, I know it sounds like heaven, but I’d rather be with my family outside of work than hanging out at work for a couple+ hours each day.

Now, if I were single, that would be different.

One of BambooHR’s messages to me was “we want you to work hard while you are here, but then leave and go get fulfillment outside of work. If we have all the fun perks we would just be trying to keep you here.”

In their seven values you’ll find these things:

Enjoy Quality Of Life

Make It Count

You aren’t going to enjoy quality of life if you are sitting at your desk with investment banker hours and pressure.  And, if you make it count while you are at work (that is, give 100% to your work while there) then you can walk away, ready for another day, and give 100% to your family or hobbies or whatever when you are away.  This is helping their team have work/life balance.

Let’s think about it differently: this is what one founder simply calls Life Balance.

Alright, still, this could just be talk, right? Because at the end of the day a company wants to grow bigger, grow faster, be better, squash the competition, hit goals, and stay alive.  It’s all talk in the hiring phase, but once you get on you have so much work you have to come in early, stay late, and then go home and work more… right?

Last night I did work late. My boss and I were in an interview and I left my phone on my desk. I didn’t see a clock so I couldn’t tell how late we were. The interview ended and we were debriefing for a few minutes when the CMO walked by. She said, “You guys aren’t supposed to be here.” It was 5:20. She was telling her VP and me to go home… at 5:20.

Generally, people start clearing out at 5:00. We were already 20 minutes late.

If you Make it Count, and really give 100% to work while at work (not to Facebook or browsing the news or hanging out at the water cooler, etc.), then by 5:00 you just might be ready to go. You have put in a solid, honest work day, focusing on the right things, making progress, and you are ready to go do other things, recharge your batteries, and come back the next day refreshed.

I have talked about one aspect of work/life balance (aka, life balance). There are other components that I’ve seen, including paid-paid vacation (where you get paid time off AND they give you thousands of dollars towards vacation expenses), a generous holiday schedule, health benefits that significantly reduce worries around current and future health issues, reimbursement for Financial Peace University (and a completion bonus after you take the course), and more.

As you figure out the right company for you you need to weigh all of these things. It’s not just salary vs. salary, or commute vs. commute… the entire job/work experience should be weighed from one company to another. I’m driving 20 miles past a couple of my target companies, and I’m doing it because for me BambooHR is the right company. Last night, driving home, I was smiling as I passed all the companies that didn’t pay attention to my resume, or passed me over in interviews, thinking thank goodness I didn’t work at those companies. I found a life balance company just right for me.

I have talked to people who only compared company opportunities at the salary level. There is so much more to choosing a company than just looking at the salary.

More on work-life balance from BambooHR:

Is There Really Such A Thing As “Work-life Balance”?

Holidays and Work-Life Balance: Three Important Questions

Work-Life Balance vs. Work-Life Integration

2 Comments »

2 responses to “Work/Life Balance: Finding The Right Company For You”

  1. Cleo Parker says:

    Jason,

    I totally agree with you about those “perks” When I see a company with a full kitchen, I know they are expecting people to work long enough that they’re going to get hungry. I like being friends with my co-workers, but I also have many friends that will never work in the type of company where I would find work. Work life balance will not be found in a self-contained spaceship of a workplace!

  2. Jason Alba says:

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t like the convenience of a full and free cafeteria. it’s interesting to learn about how this company does culture and manages their finances.

    The message I got was “we don’t want our office to be cooler than your home…. go home when you are done working!” That’s a neat message that I am seeing at 5pm every day, not just in their branding videos.

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