Work life balance obviously means embracing more than just planning a vacation once a year. It means having balance in all aspects of your life so basically work hard but also play hard (by doing whatever appeals to you). For me recently a big struggle for maintaining a work life balance is having a good home life. I enjoy coming home and relaxing, that may mean playing with my dogs, watching a movie, baking something I've never tried before, reading a fun novel, or planning an upcoming vacation :)
The unfortunate struggle of being a young professional is the financial hardship of starting out, especially in a big city like Seattle. The reason this is relevant is because it means that most young people have to live with multiple roommates in order to make ends meet, which is where I currently find myself. Without getting into too many specifics I will say my home life is hard, which I think in turn has made work hard. I didn't see it that way at first but I've found that I am becoming more irritable and just feeling burnt out emotionally because I am not really getting my down time. If I'm not stressed at work, I'm stressed about being at home just because I don't feel like I can truly relax in what is supposed to be my space. So now I'm spending the bulk of my free time trying to figure out how to break a lease and find a new place to live when really I should be planning my awesome trip to Thailand! The good thing about having the tickets to Thailand is that worst case I still have something to look forward to and can at least temporarily escape the situation.
My place of work can't control all the elements of my life and I get that. However, after talking with multiple colleagues we have started to realize that it is interesting that we work in this expensive/nice neighborhood in Seattle but none of us can really afford to live in it, either alone or with a spouse. This is an issue, but how do we even begin to fix it? It seems unfair but then at the same time I feel like I make an appropriate salary. I'd love to start a more open discussion about this and see what other people think and how it is in other parts of the country. Should your work base your pay on its location so that its employees have the option to live close to work and not deal with a commute?