The President - Fulfilling the promise

There are no more typing pools, less people doing menial mechanical and clerical tasks, while new roles have arisen to develop and service the growing infrastructure and content industries like the Web and e-commerce.

But what has happened to those in the workplace? In marked contradiction to the promise of more time, they seem to be working longer hours, playing less and spending even less time with their families.

At a Commonwealth sponsored "Men and Family Relationship" conference which was held in Canberra last month, renowned sociologist Professor Don Edgar from the centre for Workplace Culture and Change at RMIT called for major structural changes to allow men and women to balance their home and work life.

In his opening address, Professor Edgar said: "If work is allowed to swallow up our lives and make us consumers rather than caring citizens, our future is bleak indeed."

I couldn't agree more.

I would suggest that we need to start looking at the value we place on our lives. We need to have a balance in life to ensure that our home life, work life and professional life are all in perspective and that work does not overly dominate or limit the other two.

Most people understand the issues when we talk about home life and work life.

But what of professional life? By this I mean the time you commit to meeting with your colleagues and peers, to your on-going professional development, to the contribution you make to the profession in which you work.

The ACS has noticed a definite decline in the ability of members to participate in the professional life as they try to gain more time for their work and home lives.

I am not saying that you should in any way compromise your home life. If anything, I would encourage you to spend as much time as possible with your families because these are the people who really count to us as individuals.

However, in relation to your work I would encourage you to reconsider how you organise this part of your life.

Your professional life needs to be an integral component of your work life. What I am saying is rather than work longer at work, you need to work smarter. Working smarter means leveraging all the resources at your disposal and as an ACS member, the resources are considerable.

This means that you should:

Update your knowledge and skill through the most efficient means -- attend PD activities rather than trying to teach yourself;Build up your network of colleagues -- utilise the power of networks to solve problems; andUtilise your 16,000 peers in the ACS and the collective other resources of the ACS to help you with your job -- after all, why reinvent the wheel?

Building up your professional life will enable you to work smarter, work shorter hours and spend more time with those people who make life worth living. Think about it.

Prins Ralston is president of the ACS

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