Work-life balance issues are not just for professionals

The question of work-life balance is often posed in the context of professionals trying to juggle careers and family. It is good to be reminded from time to time about the real lives of young people who struggle against great odds to just make ends meet, many of them having to juggle many duties and shoulder responsibilities that the rest of us did not have to think about until we were much older.

This story from the show Marketplace is well-worth listening to. It describes the efforts of some young people struggling to balance their school, work, and family responsibilities.

20-year old Jonathan Asabo is one of the people featured.

Their dad died a year ago, and their mom leaves for work early. So Monday through Friday, Anabo takes over for his mother.

Preventing his little sister from becoming a couch potato requires sacrifices. Instead of taking a full time job, Anabo only works three days a week. He only takes college classes if they finish in time for him to pick up his sister. And once, he even brought his sister to work with him.

“I could have left her here,” explains Anabo, “but I don’t like leaving her home alone. Just because what parent wants to leave their kid home alone? Who doesn’t want to give them attention?”

It was a nice segment, a refreshing change from the media’s usual concerns with the travails of just the well-to-do.


  1. smrnda says

    Thanks for this. I find that people who talk about ‘work life balance’ are usually privileged enough that they have some agency in achieving that balance. What about work life balance for someone working 60 hours a week at various minimum wage gigs who would just like to actually *see their kids* once in a while? I also like looking at young parents as something other than people who are held up as just having made ‘irresponsible choices.’

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