Commentary: Can We Really Have It All?

:: Shutting Down the Hustle Brag ::

It's not the first time the question has been asked - nor the last. As people get married, change careers, get promoted, go back to school, start businesses, have kids, care for an aging parent or experience any number of life-changing events, the question of how to balance it all gets asked again, and again.

What most of us have found is that the answer is "no." We cannot in fact have it all, sacrifices must be made somewhere. We reshuffle, and reshuffle and reshuffle again to make what we want to work, work - because "busy" is so very subjective. This idea can often be seen in the "who's busier" debate between working moms and stay-at-home moms (seriously, who knew this was a thing?), which as shown in the meme below, that is shared very frequently on social media, can just be ugly.


Both groups are busy; both are tired; both love their families equally; both make it work; and both rarely take into account alternative family structures. They simply have different challenges and having empathy for each other, regardless of personal circumstances, can go a long way for the balance in one's own life whether they fit into these two groups or not.

Competition is healthy. In the workplace, it can help people work harder for reward (whether it's monetary gain or recognition). Among each other, however, competition has created the epidemic known as the "hustle brag." It's the term Carrie Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, cleverly gave to the act of one letting people know they're working around the clock or are simply busier than the next - it's the cousin of the "humble brag" - and it's ridiculous. Again, we do not know the circumstances of others.

In order to come close to having it all, one has to organize everything, outsource as much as they can and optimize their time to the best of their ability. A CMO, for instance, could be working late because she closed a blank screen earlier to work on something that required less creative thought and now inspiration has struck (sacrificing at-home time), a developer could be coming in early or working more from home to make up time for missed appointments for his special needs child (sacrificing sleep) or a product manager could have delegated a dozen tasks before taking those extra days off for a much-needed vacation with her family (sacrificing control). That's as much balance as we're going to get, people.

The day will always have 24 hours, regardless of what gets piled on us. We have to optimize our time by priorities and organize it with a system that works for each of us - and is used steadfast (whether that's an app, a paper schedule, Siri reminders, post-its, etc.). Most importantly, if it can be outsourced, outsource it. We tend to think we'll do something better than the next, but it's important in both the personal and professional development of one's self and others to delegate authority where we can. Getting more content in the form of quality guest bloggers, for instance, is a way for a marketer to build their brand while giving attention to other projects he or she is responsible for. At home, paying for a housekeeping service can free up time on the weekend to attend to pet projects, take a day trip or lounge with the family.

If you want it; you work for it. Just remember it's not your job to boast about how busy that makes you or compare your journey to others' journeys.

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