I have a somewhat unpopular confession to make: I hate the holidays.
From what I can tell, most people look forward to enjoying their time off. They are eager to have a few days to themselves, to set their intentions for the next year, to take their mind off of the projects that are stressing them out at work. These people are sane and reasonable.
I am not one of these people.
Yes, I’ve read the articles about the benefits of striking a balance between work and life too. But as far as I’m concerned, the truth is that you really have to work at having a life if you’re an entrepreneur.
For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with my work. When I worked at a startup in Fremont, Calif., in the '80s, I slept in my office to get an early start on the day. I can remember hiding behind a cluster of bushes at Disneyland in order to sneak away from my young children to make a phone call. When we drove around the country when they were in grade school, I can remember holding my cell phone out of the passenger seat window in a desperate attempt to improve my non-existent cell service. For the past few years, I’ve spent a portion of each summer at my best friend’s house in Montana -- to this day, he unplugs the router in my office at 5 p.m.
That’s why the holidays are difficult for me. I feel like they get in the way. I’m so excited about what I’m working on, and all of a sudden, no one is available. It drives me crazy! I try to switch gears, but I end up creeping upstairs to my office at some point anyway. At holiday parties, I want to talk business -- not my business, per se, but about someone else’s, so that I can learn from them.
To put it mildly, my single-minded devotion has caused problems for me. I’m not proud of it. And to be clear -- in no way am I advocating that this kind of behavior is necessary or even OK. Even I know it’s a bit pathetic. My commitment to my vision has led me to be successful, but it has also caused me to miss out on many things.
This year, I’m going to focus on the benefits of working over the holidays, when my phone isn’t ringing off the hook. I’ll clean out my email. I’ll read those business magazines that have been piling up. I will strategize. I will study up on the topics that excite me.
I’m writing this article because I want to call it like I see it. Work-life balance is not for everyone, although maybe it should be. To everyone out there who feels the same way I do, know that you’re not alone. Let us give thanks.
The good news is that the holidays won’t last long.