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Is work/life balance dead?

    You really want to make it home to trick or treat with your kids but your boss wants you to stay at work and get the client an answer to his question -- NOW! Before you might have put your foot down but in this environment, you just suck it up. Right?

     Are workers so fearful for their jobs that they are giving up all hope of reclaiming their personal time?  I'm afraid such things as flexible work arrangements, telecommuting and working from offices closer to home are a thing of the past as workers and employers worry about surviving in this free-fall economy. Companies are in a panic mode. So are workers.

    Expert John Challenger says: "Holding on to your job right now is more important for many than getting more work/life balance.This is not the right time to be negotiating those sorts of things.''

    On their blog, Womenomics, ABC News' Claire Shipman and the BBC's Katty Kay are more optimistic that working mothers have leverage saying : " In order to deal with a looming labor and talent shortage they (companies) need to keep talented, highly educated women and the only to do that is come up with ways that allow women to stay in the marketplace.

    But in Lisa Belkin's New York Times article, she writes: "Looking back at how far the work/life conversation has come in the last five years leads to looking forward and wondering where things will head from here. The economy, of course, will be the determining factor."

     Even Belkin questions where things are headed: "The sorts of initiatives that make work more family friendly are also the newest, and it is likely that when cuts have to be made in companies, these kinds of programs will be the first to go." She asks, When we stabilize to some “new normal," how will the workplace continue to change?

     How do you think it will continue to change? Do you think the momentum of the last decade is about to be reversed? Is work/life balance dead? At least for now, I say yes.

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