Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I see scores of working adults returning home from work late every night during the period 8pm to 11pm, tugging their luggage and handbags, appearing visibly tired, with lethargy written all over their faces. They are employees who have clocked overtime.

This is the face of work for a significant lot in Singapore whereby employees work overtime, sometimes at the expense of having no overtime pay at their companies, trading after-office hours for work instead of pursuing family life, catching up with friends, exercise and other hobbies.

It is inevitable as most of the times, bosses hold the triumph cards. The refusal to work overtime when other colleagues are doing so may be tantamount to slacking off the job and forfeiting the chance for further promotion or bonus.

Work-life balance should be the priority for all employees. Employers should also recognise that their employees need a balanced life and that the balance of life would translate ultimately to better productivity and profit margins for the company.

In my opinion, there are two schools of thought for the definition of work: a) work is life b) work sustains life. For me, I believe in the latter thought that work sustains life as via working, one earns the keep to support his or his family’s daily expenses of living and pursuing his interests and his hobbies; which collectively form life, not work alone.

However in some cases, whether work sustains life or is life itself is not an option: employees in certain sectors may spend significant portions of their time at work due to the nature of work.

Fortunately, employees do have a choice to quit his job if his work becomes the sole definition of life and cross over to another which offers better work-life balance. There may be definitely be some sacrifices during this transition in terms of pay, status etc; but ultimately I believe it is worth it.

Ultimately, one’s health would be adversely affected if one is to work and work and work ………. and health is of utmost importance to man.

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