The recently published Washington edition of SmartCEO magazine features an article entitled “Work Wonders: How to Convince Your Employees that a Little Hard Work Never Hurt Anyone.” (I would have included a link to the story, yet the magazine has yet to update their Web site with current content.)
The gist of the article is that if a CEO embraces a long, arduous work schedule – often to the detriment of their personal life – than the company’s employees will do the same. Here are a couple of choice quotes from CEOs quoted in the piece:
“Even on vacation, I’m hooked to my BlackBerry and work 16-hour days.”
Mehul Sanghani, CEO
Octo Consulting Group
“It’s very hard when one spouse is working humongously long hours and isn’t home for dinner and the other has a more normal life.”
Gloria Bohan, President and CEO
Omega World Travel, Inc.
“Your customers need you. They expect you to be there and work hard and be staying up late at night thinking about all of them. That’s the job of a CEO.”
Michael Jacoby, CEO
Broad Street Realty, LLC
This work at all costs, at all times mentality is as dated and out-of-touch as the three martini lunch, boys will be boys vibe of the 1960s. It’s silly, foolish, unproductive and, worst of all, completely insulting for employees who are smart, focused and committed to their professional achievement.
I too once subscribed to the baloney spit forth by SmartCEO. In fact, I once convinced employees that my “Work Party Weekend” idea would benefit their career development.
Was I ever wrong!
Make no mistake, I remain passionate about Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) and the innovative work we do for our clients. Plus, my competitive streak still runs deep.
Yet, I recognize that work/life balance is paramount for a person to be happy, healthy and productive. We each get one time around the track in life, so you have to always remember what is truly important.
Here’s an anecdote to illustrate my point. Earlier this year a west coast based client requested I participate in a conference call scheduled at the same time as my son’s baseball game. I chose the game and suggested we reset the call for later that evening. My request stressed the client relationship which, in turn, led me to question the decision.
The game was close when my son smacked a line drive into left field. He sprinted around the bases and made a head first slide into third. Getting up and brushing off the dirt, he spotted me in the stands and winked.
Now, months later, I can’t recall what that conference call was about. Yet, I’ll remember that wink forever.
Enjoy Labor Day!