I got into a debate with some friends lately about the work/life balance. This seems to be a perennial topic for me as I get older. There’s something in me that is driven to succeed, to build a life for myself. I’ve seen previews of what it will be like. I know it’s there for the taking. There is also another part of me that knows I need that balance. Like I said to Nick, I burned out a few years ago and reevaluated what I really wanted in life. It came down to family and friends being the most important thing to me. So far for me, I’ve been lucky in that work has supported both of those things as I’ve worked with both family and friends much of my life. ThoughtWorks has just brought more friends like Clint, Eric, and Cliff. I’d do anything for those guys. They are like family to me too, which might be why this line is so blurry for me.
The illustrious Brad Feld came up in our conversation about his work/life balance. I’ve always looked up to smart people like Brad and tried to learn from their mistakes. I learned a long time ago that it is the best to learn this way, but there are unfortunately some things that you need to go through yourself to make the lesson really stick.
I’m trying to strike the right balance in my own life. I’m willing to give up a little personal time to get a strong foothold on a career, but I won’t do it forever. My life outside of work is too important to spend it in an office building all day. I love my work. I especially loved it when I was at NeoTactix. I would get into these very focused times and work more than 80 hours in a week without noticing. Now, I rely on my family and friends to reel me back in when I’ve gone too far. I don’t listen to people who can’t handle the pressure, don’t really care about me. I listen to those most important to me because they sometimes see things that I don’t.
So, I’m still not sure if I work too much. I know that I am enjoying what I do right now and that family and friends still come first. Like Nick said, I’m practicing for something bigger. Hardships? Setbacks? Things I’ve never done before? Bring ’em on, but somebody remind me about dinner…