Balance between design work and play?


After listening to the Work-Life Balance Podcast panel discussion hosted by New Media BC at the Vancouver Film School, I was left with more confusion then certainty about how important balance is. On one side the seven panelists from varying sized design and agency’s (and one law firm) within Vancouver extolled the virtues of working hard w/ limits, but on the other hand sharing stories about how hard they worked. Also, most of the panelists were major stakeholders in their companies, as opposed to a designer or art director trying to make the design leap within a studio environment. So in a way the discussion seemed slightly biased when people were extolling the virtues of balance, yet I guessing that if you’re going to get anywhere in a successful studio you need to work your ass off. So the discussion offered more questions than answers, which makes sense when you have to decide what you want to accomplish with your time.

you can listen directly to the podcast Work/Life Balance: Empty Promise or Key to Happiness?

and there’s more of a write up of the Work-Life Balance Podcast at the BigSnit Blog who also hosted the podcast.

and I found all of this via Industrial Brand Creatives Blog

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  • Robert Ouimet


    You’re write that the group was a bit biased on the ‘owner-operator’ side. Jeremy’s views on ‘work less’ were honest and in direct contradiction to what others were saying.

    Personally, I think the ‘work forever’ ethic is nuts. It isn’t healthy and it isn’t smart. It’s also rather macho. Having kids who pointed to the computer when someone asked “where’s dad?” really made me question the value of what I was doing.

    I think the most salient thing for me was a reminder that it is impossible for ’employees’ to find work-life balance if their bosses don’t.


  • michael

    I think the most salient thing for me was a reminder that it is impossible for ‘employees’ to find work-life balance if their bosses don’t.

    I think you’re pretty much on target with that comment Robert. As for Jeremy’s views – I really didn’t agree with him for the most part. It probably comes more from a philosophical point of view than anything else. I don’t know him or his work and if he’s happy w/ where he’s at, than it really isn’t up to me to say he’s wrong. But his attitude was almost slacker though that term is probably more harsh than it needs to be. Basically I’m not sure how far you can really go to be a success if all you’re trying to do is less work and go to more concerts….

  • christina

    Jer was my Flash instructor about five years ago and a fantastic instructor at that. Being a freelancer, I know how easy it is to get ensconsed in the workload; in taking on whatever comes your way; being everything to everybody at all times. When I’m going through my busiest periods, working 50+ hours a week, I am miserable. I have no energy, focus or clarity to do anything excellent – from my design work right down to my bookkeeping. But when things are this busy, I keep reminding myself that these are the prime earning years. I think Jer’s on to something. Not sure how much money he’s got left over for the retirement savings fund but … not my business. I know that I want something bewteen what he’s got and what everyone else on that panel is doing.

    Obviously ‘balance’ is defined differently by each person.

    I need more downtime now than when I was working 9 to 5 in someone else’s shop. I sacrifice my personal time all the time for my best clients although more and more, I am demanding they give me more time on their projects. I am tired of “rush” being a given. If “rush” continues to be a given, then I will definitely have to get out of this business sooner rather than later. More often than not, because of aforementioned rush, my clients are getting price and delivery, and the quality of the work suffers. Personally, I’d rather one of the other two suffer.

  • christina

    It would have been insightful to have those panel members’ spouses, kids, other family members and friends there to give their opinion of whether their loved one has found balance in their work and life. Maybe it’s the woman in me talking, but getting pissy during the third phonecall in order to make your husband come home from the office doesn’t sound like balance to me. And if you’re spending from 9 to 9 at work, not having a computer at home doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice afterall. Just my .02.