By Michael Jordan, MHA, CRA, RT(R)
October 2011–It’s that time of year again at my organization. Not time for evaluations, but time for the Employee Opinion Survey. This is an annual survey utilized at my organization to determine how satisfied the employees are because happy staff equals low turnover rates and happy customers. Every year we poll staff members about multiple facets of their employment to determine how satisfied and committed they are to our organization and department. The questions relate to leadership communication, overall respect, interdepartmental teamwork, pay equity in the market, input in decision making, and work life / family life balance. Half of my staff is composed of the Millennial generation and the other half is a mix of the other generations. One of the most prevalent notions of the Millennial generation is that their personal lives comes first and work is just a means to an end. With this in mind, it is no surprise that one of the biggest topics of conversation from this survey is about the work life / family life balance. This means different things to different generations. One thing that I have noticed is that no matter what generation classification you are in, work life / family life balance is a big deal. So how do Millennials, specifically, see it and how can it be improved for them?
For Millennials, the first thing that should be understood is that employee satisfaction is not just the responsibility of the organization and the leadership group. This is a sad misconception from a group that typically thinks, “What about me?” The answer is that work life / family life balance is all about the individual, and what the individual can do to improve it. Work life and family life is never going to be a 50/50 split. This is a balance that will constantly ebb and flow. There will be times when work life takes the majority of your time. On the converse, there will be times that family life can reclaim ground and actually be in the majority. Keep this in mind during the times when you put in more than 40 hours a week. When the time comes that family life is in the majority you will have a greater appreciation for that time.
Another thing that can be done to improve work life / family life balance is to say “no.” As Millennials, we are known for saying “no” unless there is something in it for us. In my previous article, I urged all Millennials to get out there and get active. This is definitely what needs to be done if you want to grow in your profession and gain experience as a leader. There is a balance that has to be found, though. If you embrace every opportunity and challenge that is asked of you, becoming burned out is virtually a guarantee. Set your priorities as to what activities have the most impact for your organization, community, and your professional growth. Find a mentor that can help you prioritize activities so that you get the most impact for your effort. The mentors I have had over the years have been invaluable in helping me determine what opportunities to pursue and which ones to pass up.
So, Millennials, go out there and make a difference, but keep your own sanity in mind as you conquer the healthcare world. Take time to smell the roses, and don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed when the pendulum swings to work life versus family life. Always know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Michael Jordan, MHA, CRA, RT(R) is the imaging manager, radiology, at Carolinas Medical Center-Union in Monroe, NC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.