I Feel Sorry For These People

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

From Business Insider:

Taking time off for family or passions "can offer a nice life," legendary GE CEO Jack Welch once told The Wall Street Journal. But he said that it lessens the chances for promotion or to reach the top of a career path.

Welch is not the only one who believes this. 

Recently, Glencore Xstrata PC CEO Ivan Glasenberg argued that executives who start to focus on family and hobbies will find themselves undercut and replaced by ones who don't. 

It's easy to dismiss these attitudes as outdated, macho, and unreasonable. But it's possible that people seeking work-life balance are just avoiding finding a way to work extremely hard and be very happy about it.  

Marty Nemko, a career coach, author, columnist, and radio host, argues that the most successful and contented people prefer a heavily work-centric life over work-life balance.

"The real winners of the world, the people that are the most productive, think that this notion of work-life balance is grossly overrated," Nemko told Business Insider. "Most of the highly successful and not-burned out people I know work single-mindendly towards a goal they think is important, whether it's developing a new piece of software, inventing something, or a cardiologist who's seeing patients on nights and weekends instead of playing Monopoly with his kids on the weekend."

I guess that depends on one's definition of "success".

Look, people can live their lives however they choose.  But to say the "real winners" are those who work 70 hours a week, and don't see their kids on the weekend — well, that's a single-minded, monetaristic viewpoint.

They may be monterily successful, but are they HAPPY?  And even if they are happy in their job, is that fulfilling for life?

This Nemko guy is obviously a live-to-work guy, and that's fine.  But some of us like to work-to-live.  We don't want to wait until we retire to enjoy the finer things in life.  In any event, we're certainly not "losers" for thinking that.