The Truth About Work-Life Balance

Does it even exist?

Michele Lian
3 min readOct 9, 2021


The idea of work-life balance is a very deceiving one.

We’re constantly told to self-care, set boundaries and work smarter so we don’t fall into the soul-sucking spiral of burn-out.

Hell, this is the same advice I give anyone who asks (or doesn’t).

The ideal outcome from all this effort? Not too much work, and not too little. Just enough to challenge and make you feel like you’re making a meaningful contribution to the world.

Not dropping like a fly from exhaustion at the end of every work day.

Not ending up hating the work you’ve chosen to do.

Not turning to alcohol, drugs or 10 packs of cigarettes (or worse, all three) a day to deal with your work-life fall-out.

Not struggling to fall asleep until 4am just about every day.

Not waking up in a cold sweat from work anxiety in the middle of the night.

Not feeling angry, demotivated and disillusioned all the damn time.

Not waking up one day and realizing that your life has been a bottomless vortex of work and nothing else for the past 5 years.

But here’s the realization I’ve come to from being in the workforce for over two decades: Work-life balance is a myth.

There is no such thing — not if you’re intent on climbing the corporate ladder while working for someone else, making any kind of significant mark on the world on your own, or have a weakness for haute couture and no 100 million-dollar trust fund to support it.

If you’re hungry for more than a halfway-decent paycheck, you’re gonna have to work for it. A lot.

If this is you, you have 3 options:
a) Suck it up, toe the line and work your butt off on someone else’s turf and terms.
b) Accept that landing a job that aligns with your values so you can thrive with minimal suffering is pretty much like dating — you have to keep trying and trying until you find the right fit.
c) Work hard, but do your own thing and do it your way.



Michele Lian