Technological interconnectivity gives us the ability to keep in touch with our friends and family members, whether they are near or far. It gives us the opportunity to plan a short-notice lunch or outing. We are able to research and make decisions on restaurants, entertainment, and anything else we might possibly choose at a moment’s notice. We are constantly connected, and most of us are never more than an arm’s length away from our smart phones, tablets, and laptops.

While the ability to connect at a moment’s notice is amazing, in my role as a Marketing and Communications professional, I sometimes find myself constantly connected to work. Marketing, communications, and community management are fields that require you to keep your finger on the pulse of your target demographic. You need to know what is happening to influence public opinion about your product before it even happens and strategically decide how to communicate your message in response. It is very easy to find yourself constantly thinking about work. You work from a smart phone at a party, at dinner with friends, or even sitting at home with your laptop at the family table. 

In today’s professional landscape, work is always on our minds. At least, I find, that work is always on my mind. We hear terms like work-life balance, but what does that really mean? Is it even realistic to completely step away from work as an ambitious professional woman? In that moment when you turn off your phone, disconnect from the VPN, and take a moment to smell the figurative roses of your life, will your company or organization go down in flames? Of course, there is the rarest possibility that it could, but most likely not. 

As a young woman entering the professional world, you are taught that you have to fight to get to where you want to be. There is the fight against sexism, the fight against ageism, the fight against pay disparity, and even the fight (or competition) with your peers. You are taught to look up at the glass ceiling, sledgehammer gripped tightly in fist, with the hopes to smash through it one day. You are taught to “lean-in” and believe that yes, you can be that woman who has it all.

Ursula Burns, CEO and chairman of Xerox, says, “It’s a ‘fool’s journey’ to achieve perfect balance between one’s professional and personal lives…you should have balance, on average, over time — not in a day or in a month.” 

Ms Burns, a woman who has broken many glass ceilings in her time, understands that at times work will take precedence and at other times your personal life will. It is a deeply personal decision that each professional woman must make, but it is an important decision to make. What will be your balance between work and life, or, will work be your life? What will be the result of your fight?

I do not claim to have the answers, and I am still on my journey.  As an ambitious professional woman in Bermuda, I will follow the example of France’s recent law to protect work-life balance. I will turn off my cell phone at times, log off of the VPN, and know that taking time to enjoy life does not diminish professional integrity. 

Someone once said: “Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” Bounce well.

Yelena Packwood is the marketing and communications manager at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.