In the spirit of what I have labeled “The Month of Assessment,” here is my personal assessment report:
A Work-Life Balance Assessment Report
Goal 1: Demonstrate to my children my devotion to them
Goal 2: Demonstrate to my College my commitment to them
Goal 3: Achieve work-life balance by accomplishing both Goal 1 and Goal 2 concurrently.
Scale: 1:Does not meet goals ; 2: Approaches goals 3: Meets goals ; 4: Exceeds goals
The evaluator used three “work-life balance projects” for assessment of these goals. These three assignments were chosen because the nature of the assignment allowed for assessment of one or more aspect of the goals using different techniques. The first “project” was the bringing of evaluator’s child to her workplace to attend a special event. This project received a grade of 2.5. The evaluator was able to achieve the goal of demonstrating to the College a commitment by attending the event. The evaluator was also able to show child devotion by taking child to event. Yet, event was not until the evening, so in order to fill the rest of the day, child was needed to be given ice cream and additional Minecraft time in order to allow evaluator to attend meetings. Evaluator was unable to focus on major reports and projects and therefore was unable to complete some projects planned for that day. In addition, two other children left at home with babysitter were upset that they were not a part of said outing. Thus, while evaluator approached goal, there was still lacking in achieving either Goal 1 or Goal 2.
The second project involved bringing work home. Evaluator stayed home during a bad weather day and conducted conference meetings throughout the day. This goal received a score of 1.9. The evaluator was able to demonstrate some level of work commitment and did conduct all meetings. However, the next day, several people at evaluator’s office commented that they have been seeing too much of the person virtually as opposed to in real life. This comment seemed to imply that evaluator was not demonstrating enough commitment to work by not being physically present. In addition, children felt ignored throughout the day, which seemed heightened by an ability to see parent who could not talk to or even acknowledge children’s presence during video conference calls.
The final project was comprised of two mini projects, where evaluator tried to ignore all work at home and all children at work. This goal received a score of 1.5. While the evaluator was able for a period of time to ignore all child-related activities at work, an emergency allergy situation (which turned out to be not that much of an emergency) did disrupt the flow, which led evaluator to spend much of the rest of the day thinking about allergies, remembering that she needed to set follow-up appointments for all children, and then researching differences in various allergy medicines. The second mini-project, which involved ignoring all work during the day, was also disrupted when work called evaluator’s cellphone (which was ignored for first two calls) to report an emergency at work that needed attention (which turned out to be not that much of an emergency). Evaluator then was distracted by additional work that she had to attend to and was a distraction from “day of fun with kids” (which was already not fun, as it involved haircuts and children’s dentist appointments). Distracted evaluator accidently left behind child’s free dental gift at diner, and youngest child was distraught for the rest of the day. Evaluator then was forced to find emergency substitute gift.
The evaluator had laudable goals. However, the outcomes were not all clearly measurable. First, what defines “devotion”? Can devotion truly be measured? If measurement is by the amount of time children seem happy during the day, then the outcomes clearly failed. Yet, what is “happy”? Does hourly happiness matter as much as long-term happiness? In addition, this led to the question of what is commitment? Is commitment measured in terms of physical presence or the completion of tasks? If it is measured in terms of completion, then the goals were more likely to be achievable.
The above assessment demonstrates that there is room for improvement for evaluator to achieve a desirable level of work-life balance. The evaluator considers the following:
1. Buy additional toys to keep in office that can occupy children
2. Buy additional toys that can suffice to substitute when other toys are lost
3. Stop trying to achieve work-life balance
4. Reconsider definitions of happiness, commitment, and devotion
5. Take a year-long academic leave to try a new work-life balance between children and publishing
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