Work-Life Balance

Dean encourages graduates to be compassionate, respectful
2016 ILR Commencement
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Be grateful. Be kind. Be safe. And, work hard and steady.

But, don’t work too hard.

Kevin Hallock, the ILR School’s Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and Joseph R. Rich Professor, gave this advice to ILR graduates at the 2016 graduation recognition ceremony in Bartels Hall on Saturday.

“Thank staff, faculty, your parents and grandparents, who have supported you for so long,” Hallock said. “Be grateful for being here and for your achievement. You did it.”

He also encouraged the graduates to help others when they can, to be compassionate and to be thoughtful about risk taking.

At work, he said, “treat those who report to you at least as well as you treat those to whom you report.”

“Don’t do things that are too risky. Remember that others depend on you,” Hallock added.

Striking a good work-life balance should be a priority, Hallock stressed. “Stop and enjoy family and loved ones. There is so much more to life than occupational achievement. Take care of yourself and take care of others.”

His remarks also addressed the changing nature of work. Hallock noted how the digital revolution and companies like Uber and many others have created a dramatic shift in work, and the relationship between organizations that need work done and the individuals who get the work done.

He discussed a recent policy proposal by Seth Harris ’83, former acting U.S. labor secretary, and Alan Krueger ’83, former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. It included defining “independent workers” as distinct from “employees” or “independent contractors.”

Hallock noted, “Just because we have become comfortable with thinking about employees and employers doesn’t mean those designations have to be set in stone.”

Hallock said that ILR is precisely the place to study these issues and prepare leaders. ILR students are especially well-prepared to enter this new labor market and the workforce of the future, he said.

“You just earned an extraordinary degree at an extraordinary school and an extraordinary university. There is evidence that having good social and professional connections matter. You have that at ILR. Appreciate that you are forever part of the ILR family.”

He concluded by offering his personal congratulations to the graduates, saying that he hopes this day and the ILR experience “will be an important part of your lives, for the rest of your lives.”