You can take the man out of corporate, not the corporate out of the man

Work-life balance isn’t a myth or something you ‘might achieve’ sometime in the future. It’s achievable right now, but that achievement can come with its own set of struggles.


When I left the corporate world it was because I wanted to be my own boss. The main reason for that? Like many of you reading this, it was for work-life balance – so I could spend more time with my wife and children. I didn’t want to miss out on their important life events.

The fatherly work-life balance thing came together quickly … and brought with it an incredible set of advantages. But I still found a few things really hard to shake: deeply ingrained habits from my past career.

Like these three:

The lack of corporateness

Oddly enough I struggle with not wearing a suit. It feels strange to be in casual clothes each day and I actually find myself really enjoying meetings in Sydney when I can wear a shirt and tie!

The working hours

Yes I love the flexibility that flying solo gives but I still find myself feeling guilty whenever I stop work at 4pm (even though I may have started that day at 7am!).

Sometimes it’s also lonely.

Working on public holidays when it seems everyone else is having a ‘day off’ tends to bring this feeling on. There are no after work drinks anymore either!

How do I get over the above?

Rationally I am very aware that the benefits of running your own business completely outweigh the bad. I do, however, find that weaknesses and covetous thoughts need to be owned and worked through. Here’s how I process the above:

"At the end of the day, I’m in business to be a family man. "

  • Drop the guilt

    If you started work at 5am and it’s now 3pm, it should be pretty obvious that it’s ok to go and pick your children up from school.

  • Have a day in the city

    : Put a suit on, venture into the city, have a meeting, spend a fortune on lunch, get stuck in traffic. That’ll instantly cure you of that particular hang-up!

  • Remember why

    At the end of the day, I’m in business to be a family man. It’s easy for that to get lost in the noise.

Do you miss anything about your old corporate job? Has your work-life balance improved?

Matthew White

is director of Ergoflex Australia, an online retailer of premium quality memory foam mattresses. As well as helping Australians get a better night's sleep, Matthew is a marketer, sleep blogger, father of four and home renovator.


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