You gathered information about your MBA program, you met with your immediate supervisor, your co-workers, and direct reports, and you met or are planning to meet with your new MBA team members. By now, you should have a good idea of how the activities in your life are going to change during the time you are earning your MBA. Now we will discuss the effects on your family and your MBA work-life balance in regards to enrolling in an MBA program.
Work-Life Balance, Social Wellbeing, and the Family
Your family and/or significant others form a critical part of your work-life balance and social wellbeing. In a previous post, I said, “managing career wellbeing 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 delegate to someone else or eliminate all together.” This includes activities that establish, maintain, or strengthen family relationships, which means there is some risk that decisions regarding any activities could adversely affect your relationship with your family members. Managing work-life balance, social wellbeing, and family activities while earning an MBA is challenging, especially in today’s fast-paced electronic world.
I grew up when we had a family meeting just about every night. We called it “supper.” The norm was to have the evening meal together as a family. During that time, we actually talked. Although I did not appreciate it at the time, we learned from each other about what was going on in our lives. My father or mother would ask questions about our day if it was a school day. There would be conversations about the next day. We knew something about what was going on in each other’s lives. This is not necessarily true with families today, especially when there is a wide disparity in ages or a blended family is involved.
Today, there is also a predominance of dual career families where each parent is pursuing their own career path. The children are involved in their own set of activities, which may or may not include the parents. Rarely included in these self-pursuits is a family meal and when there is, as some of our television commercials point out, multitasking plays a role in how we communicate with each other. One family member is texting, another is watching TV, and another is on the phone. The result is hearing without listening or understanding.
Change in Activities Can Affect Work-Life Balance
The activities in your life are about to change as well as your work-life balance because of the addition of MBA activities. It is important for the family members to not only listen but also understand what is about to happen and how it may affect the whole family when you enroll in your MBA program and new activities start affecting the family. Will the affects have a negative impact on your work-life balance and social well-being? What will change? Some possible affects include:
- Less time is available to devote to family social activities
- Spontaneous meetings with family members becomes less frequent
- Routine roles such as grocery shopping and picking up the dry-cleaning become an issue
- Blocks of time are needed for studying and completing MBA assignments
- Schedules change to accommodate MBA activities
This partial list provides some insight into how the addition of MBA activities can affect your family, and as such your work-life balance and social wellbeing.
The Family Meeting
Having a family meeting where you discuss your enrollment in an MBA program and how it will affect you and your family is one way to minimize the adverse impact on your work-life balance. Furthermore, I think it demonstrates to your family how important they are to you. Possible topics or agenda items include:
- Discuss what it means to be going back to school. This is important especially when children are involved. They hear MBA and may not understand that in their world this means school.
- Emphasize that homework is now a part of your life. You may have established homework rules for the kids, how will their rules apply to you, or do you establish a new set of rules for your MBA studies?
- Discuss your MBA program. What is it? What will it do for you? What will it do for the family? When will it end? Perhaps there will be a family celebration when it ends.
- Identify the things that you currently do for the family that could potentially fall through the cracks while earning your MBA. A series of small neglects can build to a major emotional event over time. Failing to pick up dry cleaning can be devastating for a family member when an item is for a special event that evening.
The Wellbeing Finder, discussed in a previous post is especially helpful for monitoring an MBA’s work-life balance and social wellbeing since it establishes a well-being baseline for monitoring changes in well-being while participating in an MBA program.
Is a family meeting a good suggestion for addressing work-life balance during MBA study? Share your thoughts by adding a comment below.
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Future posts will address MBA Work-Life Balance and managing financial wellbeing while earning your MBA.
Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of MyeEMBA.com