The sacrifices we make at work and at home are many. Some of them can be measured in time and money and others are more intangible.

For the many hours we all put in at work, we hope to obtain satisfactory rewards. Similarly, for the many investments we make in our family, we hope to experience quality family life.

But do some of us feel as if we make numerous sacrifices only to be disappointed by the lack of results or even worse, negative results? For example, it can be very de-motivating to put in long hours and have the boss jump at you for not meeting your sales targets.

To make things worse, the long hours you put in may have affected your family life and you now face trouble on the home front as well. As unfortunate as the situation may sound, there are solutions to make things better.

Broadening your definitions of success

While basic and fair remuneration is a necessity, do you feel successful only when you earn a large income? Seeing work purely as a means of earning an income has its negative consequences, which include:

* Feeling trapped when challenges hit. You start to wonder whether it is worthwhile being in this job based largely on your threshold for comfort.

* Frequent job-hopping. This affects your ability to attain knowledge, upgrade skills and gain experience that will ultimately increase your market value.

Perhaps if you adopt a more process-oriented perspective, your work and home life can be more rewarding. Commenting on a 2009 worldwide survey of financial professionals where Singaporeans ranked second lowest in job satisfaction, Mr Tim Hird, managing director of global specialist recruitment agency, Robert Half, Singapore, says: “Especially in these uncertain times, we are advising both our clients and candidates to focus less on monetary compensation packages but more on the content and scalability of jobs.

“An attractive position or job would include training and career advancement opportunities, the existence of leaders and mentors within the organisations, and other non-monetary incentives that will go towards personal development of the employee and his ability to achieve a healthy work-life balance.”

Purposeful work

Seeing value in the work that you do is instrumental in growing self-confidence and a sense of purpose. How can you contribute in a way that matters to your internal and external clients? Asking this question can have many positive outcomes such as:

* Going the extra mile and seeking creative solutions which would then positively impact how others value your contributions.

* Seeing challenges in a positive light, and finding them less stressful. For some, this means a decrease in the search for “highs” such as clubbing to chase away the blues. While you will still make many sacrifices, you will not find it a drudgery to go to work — leading to a more rewarding work life.

* Being happier at work. This translates into having less negative stress and more energy for you to spend with loved ones.

Focus on relational competencies

In a results-oriented society, you can feel pressured to focus purely on the bottom line without realising that the quality of relationships with your colleagues and clients is important for long-term business partnerships.

You can face the same pressure to focus on tasks on the home front because you are spend long hours at work. The consequence is that family relationships become functional instead of intimate.

Unmet emotional needs can erode a sense of belonging with the family and lead to extramarital affairs for spouses and/or early boy-girl relationships for children. When people pay attention to each other as a family, the home truly becomes a haven and a refuge. This leads to emotional security and stability, which empowers people to face challenges in school and at work.