Which is more important to you?
Each day, your time goes into one of 3 categories: sleep, work, or life (which is everything that isn’t either sleep or work). I’ve created a graph for my Time Profile as it was a few years ago. I worked 14 hours a day. I didn’t get enough sleep. I was out of shape and overweight. I was stressed and irritable.
If you asked me the questions above, I would have said my family was the most important thing to me, and my health was more important than status. But I spent all my time working or thinking about work. The numbers don’t lie – the company was the most important thing to me in my life.
And objectively, the decisions I made were in favor of the company over my family. The most egregious example came on the 4th of July in 2005, when I spent several hours on a conference call. Even worse, I was at a resort for a family reunion.
What kind of an asshole schedules a conference call for the 4th of July? That would be me. I was leading the project, and we needed to make an October launch date. We were going to revolutionize medicine. We needed to beat the competition to market, and we needed to make the revenue number. And I wanted to be promoted. (For those of you keeping score, we made the launch date, we missed the number, and I was not promoted.)
One definition of idolatry is excessive devotion or blind obedience. I define Corporate Idolatry as excessive devotion or blind obedience to one’s corporate employer. My actions met both definitions.
Idolatry is a really big deal in a religious context, but it matters even more in the secular context. The details of why is the subject of a future post. Here’s the short version: Idolatry puts things in front of people, and that is a recipe for a shorter and less happy life.