Reflections on Work-Life Balance: Finding “Balance” Through Work that Matters

By: Lisa Krauthamer, Managing Director of Northeast Recruitment for Teach For America

Lisa was a 2005 Atlanta corps member in which she taught second grade. Following her time in the classroom she joined Teach For America’s recruitment team to bring more great people into classrooms and the larger movement to end educational inequity. She currently oversees campus recruitment in the northeast. She graduated from Cornell in 2004 with a degree in policy analysis and management.

Countless commentaries have been published over the last few years seeking to explain and understand the millennial generation. Generally defined as people born between 1980 and 1995, we (disclosure: I am one, though I am a child of the early 1980’s) are said to have a new and different perspective on jobs and the workplace—as well as how these components fit into our lives outside of work.

I have had the pleasure of attending the Wasserman Center’s spring conference for employers the past few years and each year brings more fascinating discussion on millennials.   At a recent conference, a speaker from Universum Global–an organization that surveys students and young professionals about their career aspirations, preferences in the work place, and ideal place to work—reported the results of a recent survey. For three consecutive years, the survey–which queried a huge sample of over 65,000 students—found that millennials seek work-life balance over all else.

But what does work-life balance mean to us and where can we find it? I, like other millennials, interpret work-life balance differently than previous generations. Instead of defining it as having enough time for one’s work and personal/family life, millennials see it as flexible hours and the workplace feeling like a second home–a blurred line between work and one’s personal life.  For me, work-life balance has much to do with whether I am living out my values and passions through my work. When I feel my work is an extension of things I care deeply about, I feel in balance because I have not been forced to choose one over another. Indeed, my work and personal lives are intertwined. The same is true of many colleagues and friends who are of the millennial generation; when they are doing the work that feels important and impactful to them, they feel in balance.

As a newly-minted college graduate and Teach for America corps member teaching elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia, I struggled at first to find this balance.  The work was difficult and the hours long. But, I was making a direct impact on students—and I was living out my values of justice, equity, and hard work each day.  For me, this brought the balance I was seeking, with my personal and professional values aligned. I have continued my efforts to achieve that balance in my current role, where I help to recruit new Teach For America corps members. I encourage and challenge my fellow millennials out there to consider work-life balance in a similar way: that is, do work that brings you joy, is meaningful to you and the world, and is impactful. With my bias clearly showing, I believe one of the best ways to do this is through Teach for America, which affords the opportunity to work to combat the inequities in our educational system.

I encourage you to check out this video about how you can bring what you are good at and what brings you joy and meaning into a classroom

Are you interested in working for Teach For America? The next deadline to apply  is October 24th.

Teach For America Corps Member ID 945669


Looking for a post-grad job with meaning? Join the 223 NYU alumni who started their careers with Teach For America—and work from inside and outside the education sector to help make a great education a reality for all. TFA is growing the force of leaders committed to ensuring that all kids have an education that expands their opportunities and gives them more choices in life. You have the power to drive change in the classroom and beyond. Choose more and apply
 to the 2015 Teach For America corps. To learn more, visit www.teachforamerica.org and the Teach For America at NYU Facebook page.

Required to apply:

  • Bachelor’s degree by June 2015
  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative undergraduate GPA
  • Citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States, or have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Candidates of all backgrounds, academic majors, and career interests encouraged to apply
  • No educational coursework or certification required to apply

 

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