On the day I searched Amazon for books on work/life balance, there were 1,702 results returned. I’ll bet if I’d conducted the same search the next day, there would have been more. That made me wonder: If all of the employees who read these books practice what the books preach and take the steps prescribed in them, how do those employees know their employers will go along with those prescriptions?

Boss: Where are you going, Ferd? It’s only 6 o’clock.
Ferd: The book I’m reading says I shouldn’t work more than 10 hours a day.
Boss: Did it tell you how to get paid if you don’t work here?

Then I wondered: Are all of these books written by employers who already know they’ll let employees engage in all the work/life balance practices they prescribe? If so, do they write the books to try to make themselves look good? To feel good? If not, what employee in his right mind would blithely and blindly take the prescription with any modicum of conviction that his sudden show of independent self-sufficiency won’t land him in a soup kitchen?

Boss: You didn’t reply to my email last night.
Ferd: You sent it after midnight.
Boss: I hear the spaghetti’s pretty good at the Salvation Army.

Suddenly, it hit me: What the readers of work/life balance books need is some kind of protection from financial loss, some kind of coverage against the possibility of their losing their jobs as a result of doing what the books tell them to do. They need an ensurance policy. To explain, I’ll define it in the context of comparable products:

  • Insurance Policy: You pay a modest premium (the small contributions of the many) to a company that promises to indemnify you in the event of disaster (the large losses of the few).
  • Assurance Policy: You pay a modest premium to a company that promises to call you on a occasion to tell you you’re a swell guy (or gal) or you’re doing a heck of a job.
  • Ensurance Policy: You pay a modest premium to a publishing company that promises to extract remuneration from the author(s) of the work/life balance book(s) that got you canned.

This ensurance policy (or self-help insurance) will allow you to feel good because you’ll be covered if you fall for some calamitous work/life balance gibberish. It’ll allow the publishers of this claptrap to feel good because they won’t be party to hanging you out to dry. And it’ll allow authors of these fantasies to feel good because they’ll have to be more responsible about the tripe they dispense.

Because all that’s true, self-help insurance is a policy I can get behind.

Image by johnhain, courtesy of pixabay.com.