1. Kansas State University
  2. »K-State Research and Extension
  3. »KSRE Tuesday Letter
  4. »Personal and Professional Satisfaction

KSRE Tuesday Letter

Other publications

K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

July 18, 2017

Personal and Professional Satisfaction

Submitted by Stacey Warner

The term “work-life balance” is “likely to go down as one of the great corporate blunders of our time” says Matthew Kelly, author of “Off Balance – Getting Beyond the WORK-LIFE BALANCE MYTH to Personal and Professional Satisfaction.”

He theorizes that “work-life balance” suggests that we have two separate lives. It sets our work and life against each other and implies that we are either working too much and living too little or vice versa. It “diminishes our ability to make the case that work can be a richly rewarding part of a person’s life and should in many ways be personal.”

Instead of striving for the unattainable work-life balance, he offers the concept of focusing on “personal and professional satisfaction.” That satisfaction comes from fully engaging in an activity and focusing on the feeling of satisfaction at the end of that activity – whether it is a particularly demanding work related assignment or a week of vacation with no work-related distractions. While pleasure is fleeting, satisfaction is lasting. “Living a life that is deeply satisfying requires a strategy, daily attention, self-awareness, and discipline.”

I first learned of Matthew Kelly’s work at a conference several years ago. Since then I’ve read his book, viewed his You Tube videos, taken and periodically re-taken his “Personal and Professional Satisfaction” assessments and shared this concept with others when appropriate. I have come to realize that great professional satisfaction can be found in being fully immersed in work and focusing on the outcomes. Satisfaction is also found in being fully engaged in life away from work. And professional responsibilities can enhance personal relationships and responsibilities and vice versa. I’ve tried to erase “work-life balance” from my thinking and conversations and re-frame my thoughts to the concept of finding satisfaction in the responsibilities and opportunities of the moment.

I trust that this brief introduction to the “personal and professional satisfaction” concept will be intriguing to some of you and that you might be interested in the book or his You Tube videos.

I especially recommend the self-assessments that are found in the book. As Kelly says “If you cannot measure something, you cannot change it. Measuring something is critical to the process of change and improvement.”