When the working marriage is unequal, something needs to give 

Most of us will have come across that old aphorism “a marriage of equals” when it comes to assessing the balance of our personal relationships, but there is no reason why we shouldn’t apply it to our working lives either. Except, it rarely seems the case that the relationship between ourselves and the organisation we work for is equal which can, in turn, create an unhealthy imbalance for our own personal development, and physical and mental wellbeing.

The problem of course is that most of us want to progress and succeed within the business we work for, so we’ll take on as much work and responsibility as we can to impress others to climb the ladder. People generally get to the senior positions in a business because they do what is required of them, not necessarily what they want to give. In turn, that can lead to a perception – if not a reality – that the organisation is taking more from you than you are getting back. And we’re back to that unhealthy imbalance that, in the long term, is not sustainable for you as an individual, and ultimately not for the business that risks a high churn of its best talent.

Be the maker of your own destiny
Taking a step back, the answer is about more carefully managing your career and being the maker of your own destiny rather than relying on those above you to shape your future. I’m advocating becoming more “self-ish” when it comes to considering your own needs; become what you need to thrive and self-actualise not what the organisation is demanding. Consider what it is you need in terms of work/life balance for you to succeed in the long term and how you can get more of that from your organisation.

While your objectives and the organisation’s objectives need not necessarily be mutually incompatible, it’s inevitable that there will be some divergence but hopefully some commonality too. Where that’s not the case, you might be in a business that doesn’t suit what you need to fulfil your career potential. If that’s the reality, you should find a company that allows you to better look after your ‘self’.

You might never reach a true marriage of equals, but you will find it’s a happier and more content relationship.