This memo Joe Biden sent his staffers on work-life balance is a must-read.

'I would like to take a moment and make something clear to everyone.'

Back in November 2014, Vice President Joe Biden sent a seemingly everyday memo to his staffers.

But on Aug. 6, 2016, it resurfaced online after Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California, posted a photo of the memo to his Facebook wall.

And it started to get the internet's attention.


Wow. What an excellent example. From this month's Esquire.

Posted by Gavin Newsom on Saturday, August 6, 2016

The photo of the memo, which was published in a recent issue of Esquire, spells out how Biden really feels about work-life balance.

Here's how the memo goes (emphasis added is mine):

To My Wonderful Staff,
I would like to take a moment and make something clear to everyone. I do not expect, nor do I want, any of you to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work. Family obligations include, but are not limited to, family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies, such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, graduations, and times of need, such as an illness or a loss in the family. This is very important to me. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if I find out that you are working with me while missing important family responsibilities, it will disappoint me greatly. This has been an unwritten rule since my days in the Senate.
Thank you all for the hard work.
Sincerely, Joe


Biden's memo echoes what the facts have said for quite some time now: Americans should make work-life balance a priority.

We work long hours. We're definitely more stressed out than we should be. And far too many of us get way less sleep than needed.

Making sure we're spending time unplugged from work — hanging out with loved ones, getting some fresh air, even just watching a favorite sitcom to take a break from the daily grind — does the body (and mind) good.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images.

Research suggests that when we prioritize work-life balance, we're actually more productive, less likely to quit our jobs, and just generally healthier.

Work-life balance is better for you and your employer.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the U.S. has the luxury to take advantage of these work-life balance benefits — mostly those in low-income or blue collar roles, who have less say in their work schedules and need to be on the clock as much as possible to make ends meet.

That's probably why Biden has been a fighter for policies like paid sick leave and guaranteed time off for new moms — legislation that would especially help these folks.

Judging from the comments on Newsom's post, Biden's memo is definitely resonating with lots of people.

The vice president doesn't get everything right all the time. But on this issue — and one or two others — he really does get it.

Thanks for looking out, Joe.

Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Pool/Getty Images.

More
Courtesy of First Book

We take the ability to curl up with a good story for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to books. For the 32 million American children growing up in low-income families, books are rare. In one low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C., there is approximately one book for every 800 children. But children need books in their lives in order to do well in school and in life. Half of students from low-income backgrounds start first grade up to two years behind other students. If a child is a poor reader at the end of first grade, there's a 90% chance they're going to be a poor reader at the end of fourth grade.

In order to help close the literacy gap, First Book launched Give a Million, a Giving Tuesday campaign to put one million new, high-quality books in the hands of children. Since 1992, the nonprofit has distributed over 185 million books and educational resources, a value of more than $1.5 billion. Many educators lack the basic educational necessities in their classrooms, and First Book helps provide these basic needs items.

Keep Reading Show less
First Book
True
first-book

I was 10 when my uncle Doug took his own life. I remember my mom getting the phone call and watching her slump down the kitchen wall, hand over her mouth. I remember her having to tell my dad to come home from work so she could tell him that his beloved baby brother had hung himself.

Doug had lived with us for a while. He was kind, gentle, and funny. He was only 24 when he died.

My uncle was so young—too young—but not as young as some who end their lives. Youth suicide in the U.S. is on the rise, and the numbers—and ages—are staggering.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Pavel Verbovski

Forrest doesn't mind admitting he needed a second chance. The 49-year-old had, at one point, been a member of the Army; he'd been married and had a support network. But he'd also run into a multitude of health and legal problems. He'd been incarcerated. And once he was released, he didn't know where he would go or what he would do. He'd never felt so alone.

But then, some hope. While working with Seattle's VA to obtain a place to live and a job, Forrest heard about Mercy Magnuson Place, a new development from Mercy Housing Northwest that would offer affordable homes to individuals and families who, like Forrest, needed help in the city's grueling rental market.

Forrest remembers not wanting to even go see the building because he didn't want to get his hopes up, but a counselor persuaded him. And when he learned that the development was a repurposed former military barracks — now a historic landmark — he knew he'd feel right at home.

Today, Forrest couldn't be happier. "I've got a 10-foot-high ceiling," he says. "I've got 7-foot windows. I look out onto a garden." His studio apartment, he says, has more space than he knows what to do with. For someone who's spent chunks of his life not having a place to call his own, the three closets that Forrest's apartment boasts are a grand luxury.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
True
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Having a baby is like entering a fight club. The first rule of having a kid is don't talk about having a kid. New moms end up with weird marks on their bodies, but they don't talk about how they got there or why. They just smile as they tell other women motherhood is such a joy.

There are so many other things we don't talk about when it comes to pregnancy. Hearing about the veritable war zone your body turns into is enough to snap anyone out of the highest of baby fevers, which is why so many women probably keep the truth to themselves. But it's important to talk about the changes because it normalizes them. Here are some of the ways your body changes that your health textbook isn't going to cover.

Keep Reading Show less
popular