In this post, I want to discuss how you manage the sacrifices, tradeoffs, and potential social well-being issues you may need to address while earning your MBA.
In a previous MyeEMBA Blog post, I referred to the concept of social well-being as “having strong relationships and love in your life.” Earning your MBA while being employed full-time will likely test the limits of the relationships in your life, even the strongest. A recent article discussing the book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, provides some insight into the relationship between social well-being and career well-being.” Among those with thriving Social Wellbeing,” says Rath, ”49% were thriving in their careers.“ Moreover, Gallup has found that employees who say they have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work. Those who don’t feel that way have a mere 1 in 12 chance of being engaged. Yet only 5% of workers strongly agree that their organization helps them build stronger personal relationships.” Since relationships are one determinate of social well-being and it appears to have a significant influence on career wellbeing, then it seems appropriate to look at ways of maintaining or enhancing existing relationships and perhaps even establishing new ones while earning your MBA. Therefore, the challenge for you while enrolled in your MBA program is to maintain an appropriate level of social well-being, which means relationship management.
Why do I say this is a challenge? The challenge is due to career wellbeing overlapping with social wellbeing. Managing career well-being while earning your MBA means that you or someone else consciously decides on which activities in addition to MBA activities you will keep and which you will transfer to someone else or eliminate. Since this includes activities that establish, maintain, or strengthen relationships, there is some risk that decisions regarding activities could adversely affect your relationship with others. Furthermore, enrolling in an MBA program also creates new opportunities for establishing relationships and enhancing your social well-being.
Most of us are involved in multiple relationships. However, three groupings of relationships are of particular importance to your social well-being while you are earning your MBA. They are family, work, and the newly added MBA peer relationships. Activities that are relationship building and associated with family and work are much easier to identify than those you associate with the new MBA peer group because you have no experience with this group and you have yet to identify opportunities for relationship building other than with your MBA team members. Unfortunately, the easiest relationships to neglect are family and work because it is easy to take these activities for granted or to assume the relationships are strong enough to withstand temporary neglect. However, I have seen the temporary neglect in extreme cases lead to divorce, children acting out, formal complaints at work, and even withdrawal from the MBA program.
Previous posts addressed relationships with your immediate supervisor, co-workers, and MBA team members. Next week we will discuss how to address family relationships in order to avoid neglecting or taking advantage of opportunities to strengthen existing family relationships while you are earning your MBA. This is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think it is much more difficult to reestablish or rebuild a relationship than it is to nurture it through a temporary period of potential neglect.
I identified three groupings of relationships; perhaps you have others that you feel are equally important to social well-being. You may know of cases that illustrate the importance of relationship management and social well-being while earning your MBA. Share your thoughts by adding to the comments below.
Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of MyeEMBA.com