A couple of weeks ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sat down for what, for him, is probably a new kind of routine interview with Business Insider. He was there to talk about his newest project (a freaking rocket building company) and the life of an entrepreneur who became the richest man in the world. Clearly this is someone who knows a thing or two about success.
Jeff Bezos reveals what it's like to build an empire and become the richest man in the world - and…
Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, recently sat down with Amazon CEO Jeff…
I came across his interview through a search on work-life balance. Even in my limited years, I’ve realized just how complicated that topic really is, and I’ve become extremely passionate about it. Then I start watching this interview, and all of a sudden, the founder of Amazon is calling work-life balance “debilitating,” shattering the world’s obsession with “having it all” before my eyes.
I completely agreed with him. Why?
Because work-life balance shouldn’t exist.
Wait! Stay with me here. Jeff isn’t just some workaholic start-up guy telling you your first billion is only 52 consecutive 80 hour work weeks away. His well proven point is that constantly seeking a balance between work and life is implying the two do not, and cannot, positively co-exist.
“[Balance is] a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off. And the reality is, if I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy. It actually is a circle; it’s not a balance” — Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon
While some people cringe at the idea of bringing work home and vice versa, to those people I ask — who are you kidding? In my experience, it’s relatively impossible to be two people at once. I’m a Gemini and even I get anxiety thinking about it. You don’t become a new human when the clock strikes 5PM. Why fight to keep everything apart? We’re no better than kids: picky eaters fighting to keep everything on our plate seperate just because we don’t know if it will still taste good when it touches.
So, what happens when you give in, and the two coincide? Well, that depends on what’s on your plate. When there’s something gross on there, it’s understandable to be cautious.
Here are some stats that are sure to curb your appetite:
- 53% of Americans state that they are unhappy at work (The Conference Board)
- Another 51% of US workers report being unengaged with their job, enjoying little to no connection to their work. (Gallup)
- On top of that stat, that same study noted an additional 16% of workers actively resent their jobs. (Gallup)
- 58 percent or people say they trust strangers more than their own boss. (Harvard Business Review)
- American workers forfeited nearly 50 percent of their paid vacation in 2017. Almost 10% didn’t take vacation at all, for fear of falling behind. (Glassdoor)
Why do we live like this? Even using the term “live” in that question seems generous. The overwhelming majority of the American workforce is constantly in a state of misery, earning money to survive another mediocre day.
Now granted, many of these folk have a huge reason to ignore their own despair — the need to take care of their families. That, however, calls into question the example we are setting for the next generation. If one group of people puts up with it, then the world will start to expect the same of all of us.
It’s time for a little rebellion. It’s time for a little happiness.
I’ve been an international digital nomad for 6 months. Before that, I was a remote employee for 2.5 years with the nearest WeWork as my HQ, and I spent the rest of my adult working experience at one of the companies consistently voted in the Top 5 Best Places to work in the country. So, yeah, my working life has sort of always been everyone else’s dream. Call me a millennial, but I’ve always had a strong belief that being unhappy at work shouldn’t be a requirement. No matter what was going on in my personal life (did you know it takes roughly the same amount of time to wipe your tears as it does to load a video conference call?), I’ve always made sure to consciously fix or avoid a toxic work environment. I’m not lucky. I just don’t put up with being miserable.
Again, this is said with the grain of salt that I do have the immense privilege of mobility, and some people have to fight for that first. But at the same time, there has literally never been a better time to shake up the status quo.
Right now, 44 million people are making thousands of extra dollars a month from a side hustle, all for the cost of a $12 domain.
There are people making six figure incomes thanks to the sharing economy driving for Uber or renting their room out on Airbnb. You can make $575 a week driving for Lyft *and they even give you the car.*
The American dream isn’t dead y’all. But Americans almost are.
You know that classic ice breaker question, “What would you do if money were no object?” Do you have an answer for it?
Okay, let’s flip the script a bit.
What would you do if you knew you could make an income while doing it?
Little bit different now isn’t it?
I want to challenge everyone to take a hard look at their life and ask — are you happy? If yes, why? If not, what can you do to change it?
I know not everyone is an entrepreneur, and that many of my peers look at lives like Jeff’s or like mine and think they aren’t talented enough, or smart enough, or bold enough to live a life where work and happiness coincide. I don’t blame anyone for feeling that way. But the next time you think that, reply to yourself with one of my favorite quotes of all time.
“Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.” — Einstein.
You are cordially invited to stop climbing. It’s time to swim.
Don’t forget — if you liked this, you can clap for it up to 50 times! Let’s make happiness viral ;)