It’s hard to have a life when you’re busy – and perhaps no two Americans are busier right now than major-party Presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both will be campaigning at a breakneck pace between now and November. Of course, neither Clinton nor Trump are strangers to tough schedules – both are known for relentless work ethic and long work days.
Clinton and Trump are not necessarily paragons of work-life balance, but that does not mean that we cannot learn from what they have done right (and wrong). Their ultra-busy lives include some important lessons on work-life balance.
As Secretary of State, Clinton had to be constantly on call. It is always the middle of the day somewhere in the world, and international incidents can happen at any hour. Clinton’s infamous leaked emails include discussions of this constant grind. Records show that Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Clinton employee known for her own writings on work-life balance, sent Clinton multiple emails encouraging her to take time off. Clinton seemed willing to take small steps – like working at home on a snow day, according to her emails – which shows that even the busiest among us can find ways to balance work and life a little better.
Like Clinton, Trump’s work ethic makes work-life balance difficult. Back in 2014, the future candidate took to Twitter to share some work-life balance advice. “If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them,” Trump wrote. “Instead make your work more pleasurable.”
Trump is far from alone in thinking along these lines. Many argue that it is impossible to balance work and life if you dislike your job. For Trump, loving your work means that work and life can be fully integrated without conflict.
Both lessons are important ones. It is certainly true that pursuing a career that you love makes work-life balance easier, but it is equally true that it is important to take time off (even when you have a tough job that makes that impossible) – after all, even if you love your job, your family might want to see you.
Perhaps most importantly, Clinton and Trump show us that even the successful and confident struggle with work-life balance. From their experiences, we can draw lessons on what to do (and what not to do) in our own work and personal lives.
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