The Happy Healthy Nonprofit

I should disclose a couple of things before I talk about The Happy Healthy Nonprofit so here goes:

1) I’m not really a believer in the whole work/life balance thing. It feels like just another way to tell women they’re doing it wrong or they’ll never be good enough. I have a similar feeling about “burnout.” (Though of course, I do understand the real science behind stress, work and health issues. Those are a thing — absolutely, I’m just not 100% sold on the issues as we talk about them NOW… it’s complicated.) This means that I’m probably bringing that baggage into how I feel about this book.
2) Beth Kanter is an old friend and BlogHer buddy and I love her — which means I’m probably bringing how I feel about Beth into how I feel about her book.

Having said that, I knew I wanted to read Beth’s book even before it was released. Because Beth, clearly. Must read. Also, Aliza Sherman, good grief. Could there be two smarter women? Nope. So after I watched Beth’s KICKASS Happy Healthy Nonprofit presentation at Cause Camp a few weeks ago, I decided it was definitely time to read the entire book. So I did.

Overall, I felt pretty good about the book. What I found myself agreeing to is that you can feel X way at work and at home, as a result of … things. In my experience, it’s not so much about over-work (and not taking down time) as it is about falling out of love with my job, my coworkers, my organization/company. It can also happen when I feel under-appreciated, under-respected, and when I’m not given an opportunity to grow or contribute in a meaningful way.

The tips and ideas in this book can help you with those issues. In fact, it includes many of things I’ve done in the past, when I was really unhappy with my job. Making changes about how I worked, how long I worked, when I worked and what I did when I wasn’t working made me so much happier than if I’d just kept grinding away.

I also believe that we’re all different, an environment where I thrive may be one where you struggle. Recognizing what works for me, is important for me (and for my team.) Recognizing what doesn’t work for others is just as important for me (and for my team.) Reading The Healthy, Happy Nonprofit can give you some framework for thinking about this and help you begin to make changes for yourself and support others.

If you are struggling with work/life balance, if you’re feeling burnt out, if you’re not burnt out but are just plain ole unhappy with your job or work environment — then I absolutely guarantee you that Beth and Aliza’s advice will help you.

Besides tips for the individual, there are tips and ideas that you can bring to your coworkers and your company/organization to help improve workplace culture. I enjoyed reading about what other organizations are doing and reflecting on the stuff my org is doing.

I’m still not completely on the work/life balance, take a real vacation, keep your phone out of your bedroom (impossible for ME!) wagon … but I’m definitely glad I read the book. I circled stuff (in PEN.) I’ll be referring back to it again in the future. (And, I really do need to get more exercise. Really.)

Comments

  1. I have been hearing a lot of people mention the work/life balance lately, and all I can think of is…. I’ve always thought of it as a see-saw. Sometimes work is heavier, sometimes life is heavier. The balance doesn’t come from making them even 100% of the time, the balance comes from learning how to navigate the heavier one while feeling like you want more of the lighter one. Because you always want the lighter one when the heavier one has you down.

  2. Denise,

    Love you right back! I remember those early BlogHer days fondly. One thing we write about in the book is that work/life balance is not really ever balanced, but more like a juggle. The key to successful juggling is incorporate self-care and making sure you get those things like enough sleep, healthy eating, and exercise. I’ve found that taking breaks away from the computer with walking has helped enormously.