[TALKING TRENDS] Work-life blending

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[TALKING TRENDS] Work-life blending

Seo Jeong-min 
The author is a senior reporter at the JoongAng Ilbo  
Only a few years ago, a key word in our lives was work-life balance, which means keeping a balance between work and our personal lives. Now we're on to something new: Work-life blending.
In a world filled with overtime and constantly-ringing phones, work-life balance became an increasingly serious issue as people spent all their time working, and not even time living. Keeping a work-life balance means you should leave your work behind after leaving the office and spend time enjoying your hobbies or doing things for your personal growth. In Korean, work-life balance is often referred to as wolabal, literally the first syllable of each word combined into one new word.
The newly-coined team work-life blending (wolable for the trendy Korean) is drawing attention these days. It describes the appropriate blend of work and personal life. When it comes to work-life balance, work and hobbies are seen as incompatible elements. On the contrary, the concept of work-life blending means doing things you love as part of your work, blending your work and hobbies.

As remote work has become a new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of one’s personal life has faded away. Many office workers have started to feel satisfied with themselves as they think they have become competent in their fields. This is why work-life blending began to gain attention — seeing work as a means to build your career and self-realization, not just a way to earn money. 
If your favorite hobbies and self-improvement skills blend into your work anyway, things ought to start to feel more balanced.

A life where your hobbies become your work: That sounds like a decent but somewhat paradoxical idea. We don’t want our careers to overwhelm our lives, but it is hard to only pursue our hobbies. After all, what matters most is our own decisions.

BY SEO JEONG-MIN [meantree@joongang.co.kr]
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