Work-play balance

It’s been far too long since I last posted. Unfortunately, my workloads have been outrageous so in the little time I had, I played! It’s not easy learning to rip-stick at 40, how to crash over logs in the bush at high speeds knowing that breaking makes things worse, and trusting a rope tied to a tree really will hold the weight of an adult long enough to swing out over an expanse of water and let go to enjoy the cool plunge in hot weather.

The work-play thing really got me thinking though. What sort of role model do I want to be, and what would I want kids to learn from how I live my life?

I realised that I would not want kids to stick to patterns are routines that make life drudgery or to be fearful of their boss, workload, or leaving a job because they saw me tapping away on my computer as if the world would combust if I didn’t send work e-mail right that moment. I was worried, stressed and anxious about deadlines, work quality, effectiveness, lack of sleep, and of saying good-bye to an emerging career if I exited the race.

So I told my partner’s kids that I would quit my job if things continued to be ridiculous. They were shocked – they found the pronouncement pretty extreme. It scared them a bit because they have watched many other adults working crazy hours to make more and more money when these adults already earn at least four times the amount of a working class family.

We talked about priorities, happiness, money, concerns about finding another job, value of work and the value of time and family, corporate culture, passion (they had thousands of questions). After going through these things many times and over time, the kids decided the decision made sense. I could play more and that was better for them!

I hope what comes out of this, is a greater understanding life is uncertain – each decision has its consequences, even the ones when we decide to do nothing. Importanly, I hope this situation was a good example that decisions may be hard and there may be significant impacts, but fear should not be primary reason behind a decision.

Note: I know there is a balance. Work can get out of whack for a bit, some projects do get adrenalin pumping like an action adventure movie, and many people do not have opportunities, skills or freedom from other responsibilities to change jobs. I also know it is about attitude because many people will be sour not matter what the situation is. However, I am fortunate because I have the option to change things a bit.


About Julie Rudner

With great excitement for the adventure we were about to go on, my mother would shout out, "We're off to see the Wizard"! It didn't matter if we were going to the shops for milk, the museum or a holiday. My mum focused on the joy of the everyday, knowing that if we engaged with life, we would always find something new and positive. With great animation my dad would explain the workings of things and how to pull things apart, put them back together, and if the situation called for it, make something new. My sister and I were taught to evaluate situations, make our decisions, and reap the consequences (both good and bad). We were encouraged to push our boundaries and not let fear prevent us from pursuing our dreams. Importantly, we learned to pick ourselves up, learn from our 'failures', and use our valuable lessons to build our confidence, independence and strength in ourselves.
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3 Responses to Work-play balance

  1. agavearts says:


    I am so pleased to have found this blog! Your topic is of particular interest to me at this stage in life having two young girls of my own. I read ‘freerange kids’ last year and struggle with my worries about letting the girls out of my sight.

    It’s very interesting to see the path you’ve gone on and I’d love to catch up.

    Fiona Stewart (Smith)
    Melbourne University Grad Dip Environmental Science 1996

  2. Julie Rudner says:

    Hello! I tried to e-mail you ages ago, but did not get through. Is it correct? Sorry for the delay, but I have been a bit overworked!

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