Last week I fell behind on my feeds. Catching up on 37 Signals blog, I came across the post “Step one is admitting you have a problem“. It is a very well written post, and makes a couple of extremely valid points. Essentially the gist of the post is that workaholism is not required to make your startup or business a success. It continues that we need to find a balance so that our work does not completely consume our lives. Where I disagree with the post is that it stereotypes all startups, regardless of aspirations and goals. I was once told by an uncle of mine that “ambition has to be matched by effort”. If a startup aspires to get a million people to pay them $20 a month, and another startup nurtures an ambition to get the entire internet population onto a single platform, and to monetize this space, who do you think is going to have to work harder?
The other concern that I have against the work-life-balance theory is that they completely refute and deny the fact that someone can actually have fun doing what they do, regardless of whether they have to work 100+ hours a week in the process. This is a life choice, and one that no one coerced them into making. Startup founders merge the lines between work & life because that is what gets them out of bed every morning! There are very few people on the planet who have the option and ability to do something they love…daily! It is not a job, and it is not work to them. Maybe I am too young and inexperienced to know the intricacies of the entire work-life notion at this stage of my life. What I do know is, that:
1. Creating a profitable & scalable startup is one of the most challenging goals one can have.
2. Large goals and aspirations require massive amounts of work, dedication, perseverance, tenacity and major sacrifices.
In the end, work-life balance means different things to different people. I may look back at this post 10 years from now and think differently to what I believe today, and that in itself just proves one cannot make sweeping statements regarding the work-life-balance without putting people, the point and stage of life they are at, & their business into perspective.