Work-Life Balance for Gay Men

Let’s continue our exploration of satisfaction on the job with a look at work-life balance. What should work-life balance for gay men look like? How does our sexuality impact our ability to move into a healthy relationship with work? Work is important, but we need to make time for other things that matter.

Defining Success

Gay men can be successful in any field of endeavor. But. many of us face obstacles related to our feelings about ourselves as gay men, and our ability to compete in a straight man’s world.

Success like purpose, or destiny, which we explored over the last couple of weeks, has to be defined personally. To many of us it means climbing the corporate ladder. Hopefully that’s only part of the picture. But, it might not be important to you at all. The same holds true for many of the other things we associate with the word success.

Before you think about bringing your work into balance with your life you need to understand what being successful means to you. If you’re trying to find balance, success should include more than work. Once you know what else is important you’ll be able to figure out what balance looks like.

Let Go of the Inferiority Complex

All queer men are insecure to some degree. We grew up in a straight man’s world. You may not be aware of it , but you’re impacted by being different from straight men. I suggest reading “The Velvet Rage” if you’re interested in exploring how you’ve been affected. It’s an eye opener.

It’s more than likely that you  feel you’re inadequate compared to straight men, that you need to work twice as hard to have the same level of success. If that’s actually true, it’s time to change jobs. But, it’s usually, your unsupportive beliefs at work. Your work should speak for itself. You shouldn’t work harder just to prove you’re as good as someone else. 

Your Contribution is what Matters

Your contribution to your company, a project, the non-profit you’re on the board of, is what maters.Your differentness brings valuable perspective to the table. Your experiences as a queer man may bring surprising insights, particularly when interpersonal issues are on the table. 

The quality and value of your work have nothing to do with your sexuality. Any belief you hold that says otherwise is just internalized homophobia. Is it possible that your sexuality is holding you back? Yes, it would be naïve to think otherwise. But no amount of hard work is going to make a difference in that case.

Finding Balance

Most men are over-focused on work. We get caught up in the optics. We stay late just to be seen. But, if we’re not being judged for our contributions we can never expect to be treated fairly, or to find room to have an actual life outside work.  Your time is precious. Figure out how much you need for self-care, family obligations and, outside interests, then carve it out. 

Play the politics if need be, but make sure it’s not just coming form your own beliefs that you aren’t as good as the straight men around you. Gay men can be and are, as successful as straight men. Sometimes finding healthy balance between work and life is just a matter of calling yourself out on your own stuff.

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