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Oscar, Brenda Lautsch and baby Kaspar

Associate professor of business Brenda Lautsch, centre, with her children Oscar and baby Kaspar, contemplates her work/life balance.

Find your inner CEO this year

January 10, 2008

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By Diane Luckow

Feeling overwhelmed by your over-committed work and family schedules? SFU Business associate professor Brenda Lautsch has a new year’s resolution for you. She’s the co-author of CEO of Me: Crafting a Life that Works in the Flexible Job Age (Wharton Press, 2008). The new book is filled with tools and ideas for taking charge and organizing a life that works on your terms.

Lautsch co-wrote the book with Michigan State University colleague Ellen Kossek. Both are experts in work/life issues. The pair plumbed their years of research and interviewed hundreds of Fortune 500 professionals as well as manufacturing employees, tele-workers and even the self-employed to establish new parameters for balancing life and work.

Their most startling discovery? Flexible job arrangements such as telecommuting, flex-time and self-employment don’t automatically improve your work/life situation. “You have to consciously take charge of how you manage the boundaries between work and family,” says Lautsch.

“Technology and tools don’t solve the problem either. You need to make some choices around what place work is going to have in your life. You need to become the CEO of me.”

The book aims to help people clarify their values and learn new ways to self-manage work/life issues. It identifies six work/life patterns — three good and three bad — and offers step-by-step guidance on moving forward towards a more productive and comfortable arrangement — a concept the authors call ‘flexstyle.’ The book also profiles people who have succeeded and gives strategies for negotiating change.

“People have more choice than they think,” says Lautsch, herself the mother of a four-year-old and a 10-month-old. “CEO of Me is about trying to inspire people and give them the tools for taking charge of their lives.”

The book is available from online booksellers and at North American bookstores.
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