As so often is the case, I’m sitting here at my desk thinking about the topic I can dedicate my upcoming blog article to: “Penetration test,” “Becoming a hacker,” “machine translation”? No!

Work and private life in harmony

No, to be honest, these are not the topics that are currently important to me in my professional and private life. Now, at age 50, other developments are giving me food for thought. Three people I knew have died within the last nine months. One died of a sudden cardiac arrest while jogging, two had a cancer diagnosis followed by the usual procedure with surgery and chemotherapy – and then the end. Plus, two of my friends who I have known for several years, had burn-out syndrome and are still not fully able to return to work. All of them were just over 50 or even 40 years old, had good jobs with good prospects, a group of friends, families and – as it seems from the outside – a good and carefree life.

What is “Work-Life-Balance”

Everybody has been talking about work-life balance in recent years. The definition in the German Wikipedia is concise and apt: “The term work-life balance stands for a state in which work and private life are in harmony with each other.” In harmony – that is the key! Not – as it was mostly the case until the end of the last century – in opposition with each other.

Definition of Work-Life-Balance

“The term work-life balance stands for a state in which work and private life are in harmony with each other.”

For decades, “life” didn’t play much of a role

At the beginning of the 1990s, when I did my training as an industrial clerk, all you knew was “work” when you were determined to get ahead in your career. “Life” took place during the weekend when you went jogging, listened to soccer on the radio on a Saturday afternoon or made a visit to the zoo with the children on Sunday. But other than that? A 50-hour week was more the norm than the exception among aspiring or established managers. Working from home, flexible working hours, ergonomic workplace? That was unheard of. Everybody was sitting in their offices lit by neon lights, combed through files and was happy when they had made it to their sofa at home just in time to catch the nine o’clock news. And during the weekend, you often drove to the office “for a couple of hours to work on a few things”. Life beside the job actually didn’t play much of a role. Health, family, friends… Life? You’d get it done, somehow.

No company wants overworked employees

Fortunately, it has become an accepted view that only people with a good work-life balance are capable of maintaining a high performance level for their company in the long run. That doesn’t mean that employees who want to achieve something and get ahead in their jobs today are relaxing at home on the sofa or at the public pool every afternoon at 4 p.m. Instead, people today regularly treat themselves to their “time out” and take advantage of the benefits of the modern working world. Mobile working, going to the gym for two hours at lunchtime or having an extensive breakfast with friends in the morning before work and discussing the latest soccer results – all of this is made possible by flexible working time models. You may still end up with a 50-hour week – but work is distributed better and more sensibly.

50-hour weeks?

Today, many companies – just like TÜV Rheinland – offer their employees a wide range of opportunities to achieve their personal, optimal work-life balance – not least for their company’s benefit as well. After all, healthy and motivated employees bring much more to the company than those who are overworked and drain their resources with regular 50-hour weeks and at some point inevitably suffer burn-out or, in the worst case, just collapse dead while exercising.


Feeling good – at work and in your private life

I know, all of this is a bit of a black-and-white picture, but I can’t just brush aside the things I experienced with my friends and acquaintances. Personally, I still want to achieve a lot in my job, but I also want my batteries to be always full or to be recharged regularly – and I want to feel good and healthy at work and in my free time. TÜV Rheinland offers me an environment in which I can achieve this kind of work-life balance. All I need to do is put together my own personal work-life balance portfolio. Since I am professionally involved in creating IT project portfolios, this shouldn’t be too big a hurdle …

To get back to the beginning of my article: If there are two things you learn from the fact that you no longer feel invincible it is humility and gratitude. And above all to take proper care of your body and mind. This helps not only me, but also my company. I wish everyone who reads this that they find their own work-life balance for the benefit of their health, but also for their professional success.

More Knowledge?

And if you would like to know something about “penetration tests”, please feel free to call me or my colleagues …


Christoph Bois

Christoph Bois

IT Demand Manager

Christoph Bois is an IT Demand Manager and in charge of the Industrial Services and Digital Transformation & Cybersecurity business streams. He has been a certified project manager since 2011 and has been intensively involved in project, portfolio and demand management in various industries for 20 years. Since he has already worked for “both sides” in his professional life, he sees his job primarily as being an “interpreter” between operations and IT.

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