Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Is a Good Project As Tempting As Sex?

Chapter 5 : The Pivotal Role Of Circumstance Part 4

If a father dresses his son in the finest clothing, places a purse of gold around his neck and then tells him to stay all day on the the steps of a brothel, is it possible in that context for the son not to enter and sample the wares? -Inspired by The Talmud. [i]

Take a smart person who wants to make a difference, and put him on the most exciting project at a small company.  Is it possible for him not to work all the time?  Here is how “Alan” describes his experience at a biotech startup.

“I loved my work.  There were stages in my job both at the plant company and at the genomics company where I loved my work.  I would get in early, I would stay late.  I thought I was making a contribution and it all felt right to me.  What made it good?  It had to do with the corporate leadership, when I was really clear in my scientific heart that we had strengths to address what we were going after.  What I knew from my training as a scientist, the company had resources and it really felt like we were aligned with the goals of the company.”

Being aligned with the goals of the company and making a difference are two of the most common answers that people gave me when describing a positive work environment.  I can relate, and Alan’s story brings back memories of the best times from my career.

Then, Alan talked about his family life.

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[i]  The Talmud is a collection of stories and commentary to supplement the Torah, the Jewish books of law (aka the Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament.)  This story is based on a passage in Tractate Berachos.