I spent the last few days down at Illinois SHRM State Conference – and what a great event and lineup it was – the best state SHRM conference I’ve been to, their lineup of speakers was incredible.  One speaker, though, hit home with especially – Jason Seiden.  It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard Jason speak, but for whatever reason, maybe I was just actually listening this time, what he had to say really hit home.  Jason has trademarked a new term called “Profersonal” – basically as a new word for us HR Pros to use versus “Work-Life Balance”.

Jason believes we are sending our employees the wrong message using “Work-Life Balance”.  When we use that term, we are telling our employees that Life (your personal life) is good and you must have more of it, meaning “Work” must be the opposite. What is the opposite of “Life”? Death!  So, we are saying Work = Death, and Personal Time = Life.  In those terms – you’ll never find “Balance”, who the hell wants “Death” over “Life” when given the choice.  When we as HR Pros start pushing Work-Life Balance – what are we really pushing onto our employees? Death or Life? And, do you want to be pushing that message?

Why I love this concept of “Profersonal” is that it is has the conjunction implies – “professional” and “personal” combined.  In everything you do, you are one person. I’m not one person at work, then go home and I’m somebody else – how satisfying is that?! living two lives.   It’s something I try and get across to my team, but it seems like the millennial really struggle with this concept of “Profersonal”.  They still want their personal life and their professional life to be separate.    They want to put up photos of their weekend excursion on Facebook, and not have to worry about what clients and co-workers might think (maybe checkout Google + circles!).  They believe that to be truly successful, you can’t show someone how you are in your professional life, how you are in your personal life.  I think that kind of life would suck!  “I yam what I am yam” as Popeye would say.

I know that not everyone is going to like the “Profersonal” me – I get that – that’s the risk I take.  But I’ll tell you a little secret – I’ve worked at jobs where I tried to be someone I wasn’t – and it wasn’t a better me.  The times I’m happiest, the times I’m most productive, I’m most enthusiastic – is when I’m me.  I like the professional me, and I like the personal me, and I willing to share both freely with anyone.  That my friends is “Balance” – when you are comfortable enough to live full time in your own skin – you don’t need work-life balance – and you can just live.

Thanks Jason for putting a word to what I feel every day – “Profersonal”!

Check Jason out, buy his book, invite him to come speak at your company or event – you won’t be sorry!

2 thoughts on “Profersonal!

  1. Thank you, Tim. I believe it’s an important concept. Executives get it, and business development and sales people get it, because they deal with their personal and professional worlds colliding every day. (Think: dinner with a client and spouses.) Now with social media, the rest of us are facing similar issues—or soon will be—as friends link to us and co-workers friend us. The rules are changing.

    BTW, I just posted a deck called The Profersonal™ Manifesto on my blog. Chef recommends for deeper reading on the topic!

  2. At my place of work we use the acronym “PPA”
    (personal/professional alignment) to represent the more Venn Diagram-like relationship between our personal and professional priorities.

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