Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

How To Choose Between the Ski Vacation and the “Make or Break” Career Event?

Chapter 10: The People-First Life Part 1

My life is so much better since I busted my corporate idol and started putting people first.  But the challenges of life don’t go away. As this story illustrates, we live in overscheduled times.

Here I was, writing a book that advocates family over work, when I canceled our annual ski week vacation to attend the 2012 San Francisco Writer’s Conference. I felt bad about doing it, especially because we go with another family. But simplistic slogans like “family over work” are just another face of idolatry. Life is complicated, and sometimes there will be times when we decide to honor our career goals.

The word “canceled” above comes from my inner voice of guilt and doubt.  The reality is that I made the decision with the full support of my wife and friends, who understood how much the conference could help get the book out.  And with five months notice, we found another time to skiing, although it cost us a bit more.

A year later, I am faced with the same choice – The San Francisco Writer’s Conference always falls on Presidents Day Weekend. This year I picked the ski trip, even though from a career standpoint, I “need” the conference even more this year.  The book is almost complete, and the SFWC is full of sessions with freelance editors, designers, and others to help me self-publish “Busting Your Corporate Idol.” And I’m sad that I won’t get to spend time with so many other writers.

The fear, that I am missing a “make or break event” is palpable. But the rational part of my brain reminds me that the “make or break” feeling is just an illusion. I have other options to find resources for the book, and rescheduling the ski trip two years in a row would be just too much

I need to have faith that things will work out in the end. I’m sure they will, and I can’t wait to hit the slopes!

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  1. I think you’re making the right decision Greg, and I applaud you for it. The conferences are great and I’m glad I’ve met the people I have at those events. But the “make or break” events of your writing career occur as often as you sit at your keyboard, producing & polishing sentences and paragraphs.

    Keep writing, keep improving, and let the chips fall where they may, my friend!


    • Thanks Dave! And I think the same hold true outside of writing. So many “key customer meetings” went absolutely nowhere in the past. And even if the deal went through, it was lost to the annals of history as soon as it happened.


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