It’s pretty common in society today to talk about work/life balance. No doubt, in this fast-paced, multifaceted world it can be a real challenge to not let one overly influence the other — to move a career forward in a purposeful and positive manner while, at the same time, facing the challenge of living a full and purposeful non-work life.
Interestingly, the longer I work in schools the more convinced I become that the same can be said of school/life balance. Perhaps it is self-serving of me, but I think that managing a school/life balance is quite challenging as well — challenging for students, for teachers and for parents.
Personally, I find it best to focus on the now, while developing awareness of the long-term results. In effect, I think it’s best to keep perspective — taking both a short- and long-view — while working collaboratively to move toward understanding and outcomes. Reaching that awareness is, at times, not easy. It’s not easy when your child is in pain, you’re worn out and reality sets in.
Right now, I’m getting a lot of experience maintaining this perspective. As we head into Spring Break, we are in the midst of our hiring season and working to fill roles of those teachers and administrators who will be leaving North Shore. A handful of people have reached out to me with, “How are you doing, Tom?” “Isn’t it difficult to manage the many moving parts?” My answer is that I am doing well – challenged, yes – but encouraged by two things: that those who are leaving North Shore are doing so having managed the work/life and the school/life balance very thoughtfully and made decisions that are, in fact, the right ones; and that they are leaving with positive feelings about North Shore. This knowledge helps me, and others, keep perspective knowing they are making decisions that are best for them and their futures. And I’m truly excited for them. I’m also very touched by the words of support and concern from parents and colleagues who know the pressure that those openings create.
We all know that strong organizations and good people make it possible to work through challenges. And, sometimes, the ultimate outcomes are even better than the expectations. I think North Shore is one of those places.
I’m also confident that we are in a very good place. Candidates who visit our school are unanimously impressed by our students, faculty, program and facilities. I also plan to use the upcoming Spring Break to relax, recharge, spend time with family and recalibrate my school/life balance. I hope you will do the same.