Get a life

Get a life: winning choices for working people

Paul Valler
Inter-Varsity Press, 2008, £8.99, Pbk., 192p., ISBN 9781844742172

This book, part of a series entitled “Faith at Work”, is full of practical and scriptural advice from Paul Valler, speaker at the 2008 LCF Annual Public Lecture on the same topic, work-life balance. This is not the first book I have read on the topic, but as I have found that work-life balance needs to be reviewed regularly as life circumstances change, I valued the fresh set of tools which Valler provides.

The author states that “The first step [to a better work-life pattern] is the willingness to think carefully about life in a structured way. This book provides a structure.” He encourages us to ask whether, as Christian workers, our identity, choices and purpose are integrated, and provides a series of tools for a check-up under each of these headings. Valler’s experience comes through, but he uses few personal illustrations, preferring to use fictional scenarios throughout. I found that these were helpful and believable, and the one or two “insight capture questions” at the end of each chapter were manageable in using this book as a spiritual healthcheck.

Inevitably, some of the bite-sized chapters hit home more than others for me, but I suspect that if I revisited the book in the future, other issues would rise to the fore. I particularly valued the chapters on making right choices, covering such practical topics as money, career, time management and guidance. But these, which make up the bulk, are appropriately bookended by an introduction on living authentically and a concluding section on vision and purpose. Although the book seems to be aimed at the individual, appealing to their own work-life journey, it makes frequent references to the need for “body living” as part of the local church, especially in accountable relationships.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is attracted by the idea of examining the context of their working life in a structured way. It is easy to read, whilst effectively prompting the reader to much more than that – to prayerful thought and development.

Contributed by: Margaret Stone, BA, Msc, MA, MCLIP, who works as IT Services Development Officer, at UCL Library Services, University College London.