Sense of Urgency (Why people work hard)

IT Business
3 Comments

We’re on our way back from a long week in California, closing some fantastic meetings in Los Angeles, an awesome Xchange Service Provider event and the CharTec Academy. Fantastic partners, great people, ton of fun but not easy stuff by any means.

I had perhaps one of the most interesting conversations in a very long time that started with the following questions:

They seem to work really hard – barely seeing their kids.

He puts in insane hours just so his wife can stay at home and raise their kids.

But here is the response that my best friend shared with me last fall when I went to visit him and asked why his wife seems to be stressed out:

“She’s at home stuck with the kids and she wants time off but I just can’t give it to her right now.”

He works so that his wife can stay at home and can get the joy out of raising their kids. Yes, that too is a sactifice because there are times when we’d all rather do something else – but we all sacrifice for what is really important in life.

One thing I’ve learned in life (at my old age of 31) is that really successful people tend to sacrifice (at times a lot) to get to the next level and become successful. One of my friends in the industry recently shared with me that everyone thought she was a lesbian because she didn’t have a man and worked so much. Ouch.

I won’t speak for those people. And please understand, I am not trying to preach here – this is my life and this works for me, your life is your own and I am not trying to change it or challenge how you live it. At all. Please don’t look at this as anything other than an explanation of how us weird “workaholic” people see the world.

Believe me, if I could do this on a sofa in my tighty whities eating M&Ms from my bellybutton (oh yeah, you pictured it didn’t you?) I wouldn’t be writing this blog at 30,000 ft on a redeye flight on a Saturday night after an 80 hour workweek. Alas, Ferrari’s are expensive. As are Porsche’s. As is kids private school and college education. As is a big house, big house cleaners, insurance, Disney passes and Snaussages.

I was raised to respect money and my parents always told me that they both worked hard because they wanted me to have an opportunity to make something of myself in life. I don’t recall mommy and daddy ever handing me the Corvette keys – I had to earn those myself. And now that I have a family of my own, I want my kid to have a chance to have a better life than I did.

I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone I know. So it takes a few extra hours to earn it, will I really remember this redeye flight in a year? Doubtful.

About balance..

Lot’s of people seem to talk about “balance” in life. I for one don’t really find my life unbalanced, I’m blessed to love what I do and I would be on this computer doing this stuff at 2 AM no matter what. I don’t particularly enjoy the meetings with lawyers and accountants, or apologizing when we fail, but there is no such thing as perfection.

I also do not believe there to be such a thing as “balance”; Oh, I know a lot of people that talk about balance – and talk about it a lot – but truth of the matter is that someone always feels like they are losing out no matter how much you think you’re balancing it out.

— “ Your spouse thinks you’re working too much and you’ve got problems at home. Your boss doesn’t think you’re working hard enough so you’ve got problems at work. You bring your home problems to work which affect your performance which affect your compensation which leaves you to go back home to your loved ones and unload on them when they hit the wrong button during the “how was your day” talk. So you stay awake past your bed time to try to make it up with sex, wake up exhausted and just can’t wait for some sucker to call you up and as John Wayne put it – “Go ahead punk, make my day”  “

That little bit of darkness is courtesy of my friend Steve who delivers the above rant to a perfection in person. Gloomy, ain’t it? But there is a grain of truth there, we all have to sacrifice.

So why do it?

The reason I am writing this post is to tell you that there is an enormous sense of urgency among the technology providers to become a full technology solution – because so much is now possible without physical presence, all of the traditional “suppliers” and “vendors” are going direct to the consumers and the old “business2business” world is no longer an entity onto itself – it’s just an extension of consumer experience.

Everyone is racing at a frantic pace to offer VoIP, BUDR, cloud, commodity monitoring, remote services and support. We all want a spot on that clients org chart.

And among my hard working friends there is an understanding – hard work and dedication over time breeds winners. We become so critical, so essential, so core to the success of our organizations and our clients businesses that the payoff is guaranteed and proportional to our effort.

It’s the equivalent of the universe saying: the money is yours, all you have to do is put in the effort pick it up.

Some people only want to reach down for $10. Some will reach deeper for a $20. Some will roll up their sleeves and try to pull out a $50.

This is the greatest, most profitable time to be in business. And what you build now will stay with you for years. Make yourself indispensable.

So from the 30,000 ft in the air on the red eye flight after a 7 day workweek, with my laptop in one hand and gold plated revenue digging showel in the other… good night and happy Monday.

3 Responses to Sense of Urgency (Why people work hard)

  1. Jeff Johnson says:

    Interesting thoughts Vlad. Hopefully we’re all working as hard as we are right now so that we can take a step back at some point & only work hard & long on the things that we really enjoy and let others in our businesses do the things that we detest & make our life hard.

    Jeff
    http://www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com

  2. vlad says:

    Jeff,

    That’s the way I’ve always seen it. If you don’t try, you’re always going to get stuck at the bottom. But the harder you try, the further-removed-from-crap-you-don’t-like you are. While each of my roles in building this business has gotten a lot more complexity and things I don’t enjoy, when I look back, I’d rather be doing what I’m doing now than any other point-in-time before.

    Maybe next I’ll write a post on “the opportunity costs and tradeoffs of complexity and responsibility”

    -Vlad

  3. Alex Ledesma says:

    Dude you hit it right on the money. My wife complains all the time that all I do is work and she is right as a business owner I work 7 days a week. I need to grow my business I am no longer satisfied both personally and economically with being a geeks geek. I need to expand my business more to more than what I can do. I sacrifice for the same reasons your best friend does. My wife had an 80k/year job which meant our combined income was quite nice, but priorities change and we wanted to start a family so we had a baby and it was really important to me that she stay with him these years and so began the reinventing of my professional self to be able to carry the load and achieve it comfortably. Sure it is tough, I am tired but to me it is not about having a big house or a fancy car but it is about not worrying and if it means that I sacrifice now to be able to not worry in the future….So be it.

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