Fortune magazine recently published an article about Damola Adamolekun, the 34-year-old CEO of P.F. Chang’s who wakes up at 4 a.m. and runs 8 miles every day.
Trying to strike a balanced and well-rounded view, Adamolekun does emphasize that this is an individual choice. He considers work long hours in evenings and weekends fun. He worked in hedge fund. HR would say he got a cultural fit. He said if someone finds work stressful, they should separate life from work and set aside time to rest. He does recognize the difference among people.
The underlying message of this article seems to promote working long hours with little sleep and rest as heroic. It is not surprising that this article is from Fortune magazine.
It needs to stress two things. First, work-life balance should probably be promoted for most people. Even if someone enjoys their work, they might need enough sleep and rest to take care of their physical, mental and relationship health. This CEO seems exceptional rather than norm. Some people might not withstand kind of intensity of work. Is he single? Not sure someone with family can do that. Or they might leave all the family work to their spouses. Perhaps that is why divorce happens. Some put their work ahead of their family or do not spend enough time and energy with their family. Perhaps Fortune doesn’t consider most people are their target audience. They only serve the elite. 😊
Second, is it really a shame to work less? In certain culture, not working hard enough is considered laziness which is shameful. We are taught that we need to earn our livings. It leads to a very interesting discussion. Many of us are afraid that AI will take our jobs. Many tech leaders suggest universal basic income to give everyone a floor for life with dignity and mitigate poverty and social unrest from unemployment. However, this touches a very basic moral question. Do we deserve to live if we don’t work? All the social welfare programs hinge on this one foundational question. Everyone should work to live unless they are disable. Otherwise, they should starve to death. If AI or automation can generate enough goods and services, could people be liberated from unwanted work? Can someone only work or do activities they enjoy? My brain is too small for this. It is a very stimulating question.
Third, hard work doesn’t necessarily lead to success. 😊 Some people might jump right in to refute that of course, you need to work smart. Who doesn’t want to work smart? Do you think that they have a choice? Everyone is trying their best to make the best decision based on their ability/information/knowledge/skills they possess at that moment. It is not that they got plan A and plan B. They purposely hind plan A in their back pocket which is the smarter one and choose plan B which is the dumber option. LOL. We all have our limitations. My limitation might be very different from another person’s. I am sure that many people who work as hard as this CEO of P.F. Chang but only have an average career. When they read this article of Fortune, I guessed some of they might because only very ambitious people work that hard. They might get depressed. They might think I work as hard if not harder, why can’t I have what he achieved. Now, that can lead to depression and mental illness.
I am not sure what the purpose of this article is. What message is sending to the young people who are trying to figure out their way in the world?
Financial security is very important indeed. There are many ways to achieve it. We should never sacrifice our mental and physical health for it.