By Aisha Franz. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Softcover, 256 pages, Colour, 2023 (originally published in German in 2022)
A cutting portrayal of the pursuit of work-life balance from the cartoonist of Shit is Real
To achieve the proper work-life balance perhaps we just need the right therapist to coach us through our day-to-day. Anita, Sandra, and Dex have ambitions. Anita wants to move from making utility ceramics to fine art sculpture but her pent up dissatisfaction results in an outburst that puts her studio mate’s work at risk. Sandra juggles her practical administrative day job at a startup with her wellness influencer channel, finding both in jeopardy when a messy affair with her coworker comes to light. In another corner of the same startup, Dex’s innovative ideas are rejected, leading him to spend his days hacking and working as a bike courier. All three are disillusioned with their daily grinds. As the pressure for self-improvement builds they all end up looking to the same therapist for answers.
Soon the boundaries between work and life begin to bleed into each other and it becomes increasingly impossible to find balance. All the solace the characters expect their therapist to provide is obscured by her quirks, whims, and psycho-parlance, leading to sessions that are neglectful at best and actively inhibit growth at worst. In striking colors and trippy transformational sequences, Aisha Franz captures the comedic absurdity of contemporary work-life and wellness culture.
Work Life Balance is translated from the German by Nicholas Houde.
"[Work-Life Balance] highlights the lack of separation between digital and analog, as hobbies become jobs, humans become brands, and constant connectivity becomes isolation. Franz’s mordant and melancholy graphic novel reveals the irony of 'social' media."—Publishers Weekly