TAO Self-help

Title:Quality of Life Vs Quality of Work

Author:Tom Wolfe, Career Coach

Date:April 2012


Among the reasons for leaving the service most often cited by military personnel is quality of life. Out of Uniform by Tom Wolfe If this applies to you, it would be prudent to use it as one of your evaluation points as you seek out a civilian career and evaluate job offers.

Although you probably hear and use the phrase quality of life (QOL) often, have you ever stopped to consider what it actually means? Let's start by distinguishing it from its sister phrase, quality of work (QOW). QOW deals with the internal elements of the job. Consider these: working conditions and environment, job satisfaction, corporate culture, co-worker relationships, and advancement opportunity. QOL addresses issues beyond the workplace. Where you live, your commute, personal time for family, hobbies, interests or community service, and compensation are among those elements that impact most people's QOL.

There is a close connection between QOL and QOW. The work you do will directly impact your QOL. Your working hours, the pressure of the job, salary, benefits, holiday and vacation policy, out-of-town travel, and job satisfaction have both a direct and indirect impact on your QOL. Conversely, your mental, physical, spiritual, and financial health away from the job will probably impact your QOW.

In its most basic form, QOL involves two issues: where you live and how much money you make. These are interconnected through geography and cost of living. How does a starting salary of $75,000 in Manhattan sound to you? Well, are we talking about Manhattan, Kansas or Manhattan, NYC?

Objective: I want a fast paced career with a growing, dynamic company where compensation is based on work ethic and results and where there is an opportunity for rapid professional growth.

Objective: I want a nice house in a safe, quiet neighborhood with access to good schools, and a personal life that allows me to spend time with my family, play golf, coach little league, and get involved in community service activities.

Which of these statements best reflects your desires? Let me guess — you want it all! Is that possible or are they mutually exclusive? While not quite mutually exclusive, there is a connection. You might have to make a few sacrifices in each category to attain an acceptable situation in the other. What kind of sacrifices? That is totally up to you. Everyone has different priorities in their personal and professional lives. The key is finding a balance that works for you. Try this one on for size:

Objective: I want a career opportunity that allows me to balance the requirements of my personal and professional lives.

Although I would not suggest using that statement on your resume, you should keep it in mind. Identify and prioritize your QOL and QOW requirements and use the result as a guide as you conduct your career transition and job search.

Comments or questions regarding this column or any career transition topic? Feel free to contact me: tom@tomwolfe-careecoach.com.

© 2012; Tom Wolfe, author; all rights reserved; excerpts from Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition; used with the permission of the author and publisher, www.potomacbooksinc.com.

Tom Wolfe is an author, columnist, career coach, veteran, and an expert in the field of military-to-civilian career transition. During his career he assisted thousands of service members in their searches for employment, placing more than 3000 in their new jobs. Prior to civilian life, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a surface warfare officer. He teaches transition courses, gives seminars on career and job change, writes about the career transition process, and continues to counsel current and former military personnel. His book, Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition, was published by Potomac Books in 2011. Tom lives on the North Carolina coast with his wife, Julie, and their Chesapeake Bay retriever, Maggie.

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