Developing My Knowledge and Experiential Understanding towards a Creative Contribution to Work & Family / Life Balance

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


Work and family / life balance, which I define as the need to strike a balance between work on one side and family and the rest of one’s life on the other, is an area that is important to me personally and very relevant in today’s society. The typical American household consists of families where most of the adult members are employed outside of the home. Though I began my project with a narrow focus that concentrated on family friendly practices in the workplace, my research led me to a broader understanding of people’s life experiences. Workplace design and the way our culture conducts business must become more progressive and adaptive to the realities that shape our daily lives and our families. While researching the experts’ opinions on workplace culture, I also emphasized the importance of real life people and their real life stories of hope and struggle. I intermeshed the research and findings of organized efforts with the powerful nature of the people’s voice. Turning my focus to the stories provided by societies workforce resulted in an unforeseen, yet very therapeutic effect on my evolving project. Initially, I facilitated a focus group of parents that I brought together to brainstorm creative solutions to life’s challenges. Soon thereafter, I was determined to incorporate the empathetic dialogue of those individuals into all of my future work. I went on to design a group facilitation process, with the goal of creating a University of Massachusetts Boston pilot program, promoting family and life-friendly practices. Lastly, I implemented a story-collecting Work & Family/Life Balance website. This website served as the basis for creating a constituency-building Book of Hope, full of the diverse stories originally submitted to the website. In the end, the strength of my synthesis project is the collective sharing and collaborative nature that has been compiled together and is now available to support anyone who may need it. The underlying message, reiterated over and over again, in story after story, is that all of us share this common desire to improve upon the way we mesh our work lives with the rest of our lives. Fortunately, we can all learn from each other in the hopes of improving the quality of our lives.


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