WorkLife Balance or The Pig and Bacon versus The Chicken and Eggs

Posted on June 23, 2013 by


There has been much discussion regarding the topic of work life balance.  While some would argue that it is possible to strike a balance between the demands of work and the needs of your personal life, others would contend that there is no such thing.  Instead, they counter that there will be sacrifices, opportunity costs if you will, and whether you accept or acknowledge these costs determine how adjusted you will be. Another way of looking at it is the pig and bacon versus the chicken and eggs.

The pig is 100% committed when it comes to bacon.  In order for the bacon to be produced, the pig must sacrifice it’s life.  There is nothing left.  Once the bacon is there, the pig is gone.  For us, it is synonymous with burnout, lack of engagement, strained relationships with peers, family and friends, health problems and the list goes on.  In this case, we give our all for the organization and then feel a sense of unfulfillment because we don’t perceive the value of what is received as relational to what was given.  Further, from this perspective, the leader recognizes that there is a carrot to be chased and knows that by dangling the right carrot, the bacon will be had.

The chicken, on the other hand, is able to supply eggs without sacrificing itself.  The chicken can continue to provide eggs at varying frequencies and go on with its life.  Here, we are able to create a product or service that adds value or contributes to the overall success of the organization without negatively impacting the things we hold dear.  In this case, clearly defined values allow one to establish parameters regarding how much will be given to the organization and what personal sacrifices will or won’t be made as a result.  Further, from this perspective, the leader must employ different engagement strategies as dangling the proverbial carrot is no longer enough to incentivize.

So ask yourself, are you the pig or the chicken?  If you’re the pig, take time to reassess what you are doing before the only thing left is bacon….