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Is work life balance really just a myth?

As many of us get down to some serious relaxing this long weekend, others are sharing the sun lounger with their smartphones. Always on-message, yet told we can all have it all. In an age of instant communication, is work life balance really just a myth?
(CBC)
Listen to the full episode1:53:00

As many of us get down to some serious relaxing this long weekend, others are sharing the sun lounger with their smartphones. Always on-message, yet told we can all have it all. In an age of instant communication, is work life balance really just a myth?

Some call it Simcoe Day, it's known as Heritage Day in Alberta, Natal Day (in parts of Nova Scotia), New Brunswick Day, Saskatchewan Day, and British Columbia Day, whatever name you have for it in your patch of the world, the expectation will broadly be the same—that you spend time away from the usual routine, that you work less, or not work at all and that you spend some valuable time with the people you enjoy being around. 

The reality for many of us can be very different—holidays, weekends, evenings—even the minutes before sleep, are often spent checking in with work. On nightstands across the land, there are little blue flashing lights reminding people where their loyalties are. The call of the ubiquitous smartphone lets you know that the boss has a request, a question, a reminder, a demand—a work colleague wants to pass you a vital piece of information about something that has to be seen to first thing tomorrow. 

Just how do you make the break between work and homelife? 

Maybe it's not your smartphone that's running your life and forcing you to abandon the notion of free time. Maybe you simply don't have any free time. Living in Canada is not cheap and whether people are single or married, with kids or without, the cost of living means that an increasing number of people are having to work harder and faster to keep up. Two jobs, sometimes three jobs, are the only answer for many earning a low wage couples passing each other at the front door as they do their best to negotiate shiftwork and families. 

And millennials, you are the generation that seems to be laying down the rules when it comes to piping up about what you value in life. Gadgets yes. Technology is your way of negotiating the world, but we are told, you want a pared down life - less stuff, more time and a job that doesn't take up more time than you are prepared to give.

Our question today: Is work/life balance a myth?

Guests

Linda Duxbury, Professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University

Fraser Stark, Vice President of Talent at Influitive

​Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa

Gloria González-Morales, Co-director of the Centre for Workers Health and Well-Being

Vass Bednar, Associate Director, Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management