Her answer shocked him.
|A friend of mine once interviewed Barbara Corcoran, the real estate mogul, business expert, and star of the television series, “Shark Tank,” about how she maintained work-life balance. He expected to discover time management gems that were her secret for thriving in every area of life.
Her answer shocked him.
“A business is like a baby,” she said. “You can’t say to a baby, ‘I’m going to take great care of you from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night, Monday through Friday, and the rest of the time you’ve got to take care of yourself. No, if a baby is hungry, you feed it. If it’s dirty, you change it. If it’s crying, you stop what you’re doing and see why. There’s no such thing as balance.”
Many of us read with varying degrees of horror the recent New York Times article about work and life for employees at Amazon.com, “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace.” It’s a long read, but well worth it. While Jeff Bezos said that the Amazon described in the article bore little resemblance to the company he knew, his summary of the company described in the article is pitch perfect: “It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard.”iEven if you don’t work at Amazon, even if you have a foosball table in your workplace, and even if you have a chef on call to make your favorite dish, the tech sector is still hard, and one industry insider identifies two reasons why. In an article entitled “The CEO of a $30 billion company explains why tech companies overwork their employees,” author Julie Bort talks to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who has written about the importance of work-life balance in his book, The Juggling Act: Bringing Balance to Your Faith, Family, and Work.
Gelsinger identifies two reasons why work-life balance is so hard:
- The challenge outside. Companies worship workaholism, and the tech sector feeds on that because they think it is necessary to success.
- The challenge inside. As Gelsinger puts it, “We’re hiring Type-As, some of the best and brightest people on the planet and they’re passionate about their projects and their technology … which means work more, work harder, deliver faster, deliver sooner.ii
Gelsinger offers two pieces of practical advice for achieving a better work-life balance, to which I want to add my own piece of advice:
Gelsinger: Create family events like parties and movie nights where families and kids come into the corporate calendar so spouses and children feel comfortable on campus.
Scott: Get your work done as fast as possible so you can enjoy your family as much as possible. Your database is either a Tesla that goes form 0-60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, or a U-Haul that will never, ever go faster than 45 miles per hour. If you’re spending more time at the office just watching your IBM DB2 database think about the simplest query forever, then you literally owe it to yourself and to your family to take the free DBI Software 15-Second Challenge - right now.
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