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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley

When Work and Family Collide by Andy Stanley is a book dealing with the pressures heaped upon working parents, specifically the tendency we have to give our work life a higher priority with our time and devotion than our family life. Andy's main perspective is that no one has enough time to give 100% to every pursuit we're involved in. Therefore, we have to choose which area of our life to cheat (and in fact, the book was previously released with the title Choosing to Cheat). The concept can be applied not just to work and I know some hobby bloggers who could plug "blogging" into that outlet as well because of the demands it places on our time.  

Since I am a work-at-home mom trying to make a full-time living while also being home with my family, the title of the book was intriguing. Work and family collide for me every single day, and I'm always looking for ways to help me get my work done more efficiently so I can be fully present for my husband and kids. That wasn't really what the book turned out to be about. Rather, it first encourages you to see your family as your highest priority, reminding the reader that a company for which you are sacrificing that which is most important in the world may not be so loyal to you when it comes times for layoffs, and the author presents a formula for those spending too much time at work on how to approach your supervisor with alternate solutions.

Since I am self-employed and am blessed to have found a workable solution to help me keep my family my first priority, I didn't gain as much from this book as would someone working a "normal" out of the home job or struggling with a typical work/life balance problem. There were several passages of the text that I would have liked my husband to read, since I know he has a very strong work ethic and can tend to give a great deal of himself to his work, and this has, in the past, been a point of contention. He used to travel a great deal and this book does address that particular situation quite a bit.

To be honest, I found the "you have to cheat somewhere" notion a little strange. He clearly isn't telling anyone to be dishonest or defraud their company; rather it's all a matter of prioritizing, but the "cheat" thing had some negative undertones to it and I sometimes found it hard to overcome the "cheat at work" mindset. I believe it's important both to put your family before your work as a general matter but also, to work hard and give it the best you have. I think managing a family and a career sometimes takes creative problem solving, and I'm not sure that his one-size-fits-all approach (based on Daniel's diet story in Scripture) is really applicable in all or even most situations.

It is a quick read, though, and definitely has some great encouragement for seeing your family in its proper place, then following through on that with action. If you struggle with how to give more of yourself to your family while holding down a career that demands a lot of you, you may benefit from giving it a read.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for a review from the Blogging for Books program. All opinions are always my own. Review contains affiliate links. 

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