The Work-Life Fallacy

If work-life balance is on your mind, then you’re in the wrong field. 

I know this from first-hand experience. 

Before I got into sales, I was an assistant in Hollywood, similar to Lloyd from Entourage. 

I was on-call 24/7, but totally zoned out.

Our agents ordered me to fetch their lunch only to complain about it. One time, I had half-a-rotisserie chicken hurled at my desk because it was at “fu**ing room temperature.” 

Don’t let anyone tell you that chickens can’t fly. 

The assistant life was taking its toll. I was overworked and yearned for more work-life balance. Instead, I should’ve focused on improving the quality of my life.  

The reality is I hated my job. 

My college buddy had just moved to SF and encouraged me to do the same. He suggested I take what I had learned from pitching actors to casting directors and apply it to selling software.

I packed my things, moved to San Francisco, and tried my hand at startup sales. 

8 years into my sales career, my workload has never been greater, and I’ve never been happier. 

I’m under constant pressure: 

  • Our board expects me to deliver on aggressive numbers. 
  • My reps pull me into negotiations for competitive deals. 
  • Candidates tell me to match their competing offers or they’ll walk.

There are no standard working hours. I have a target hanging over my head and I do what it takes to hit it. 

Despite all this pressure and demand for my time, I couldn’t ask for a better gig. I feel energized and never contemplate the idea of work-life balance even when I have to jump on a 5:30 a.m. call with a procurement team in Germany.

In fact, sales improved all aspects of my life.

I’ve become a better investor because I spend a lot of my time researching companies. This has allowed me to learn about the latest technology trends and have intriguing conversations with some of the world’s fastest-growing businesses. 

I’ve become healthier. The constant pressure to deliver on lofty targets is a blessing in disguise. It’s forced me to learn how to better deal with stress. The best way of doing so is prioritizing physical fitness. I got into running because of sales. 

I’ve strengthened my relationships. My job is all about listening to people, understanding their motivations, and helping them achieve their goals. This is the most valuable skill for building everlasting friendships.

The notion of striking a “work-life balance” is limiting because it focuses on quantity instead of quality

Jeff Bezos agrees. 

Earlier this week, Jeff Bezos added record $13B in single day to fortune |  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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.” – Jeff Bezos

A better approach would be to focus on improving your overall quality of life. 

The best way to do this is to find a craft you can:

  1. Dedicate yourself to—something you can become great at through consistent practice.
  2. Earn a living from. 

For me, it was startup sales, and I didn’t discover it until my mid-twenties.

So, if you’re feeling overworked and the first thought that pops into your mind is achieving better work-life balance, ask yourself this: 

Are you working on a craft that fulfills you both intellectually and financially? 

If not, you should do everything in your power to answer with a resounding “yes”.

As Confucius says “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”