Work-Life Balance

RodinMuseum2-JSmith-1169-587 While describing my upcoming extended career break to my friend Eli, he understandably asked “Why?”. And as I embark on this new chapter in my life, I’ve tried to answer that question, both for him and myself. But first, let me put some things in context. I just ended an incredible five-year adventure as the co-founder & CEO of TOTSY.com. (You can read some posts from this period.) Five years of joy, of doubt, of ups, of downs, of excitement, of fundraising, of awards, of risks, and of walking this thin line that separates success from failure. It ended very recently – not in the way I could have imagined 5 years ago – but we definitely grew the business to a point I never thought we would when I first started with my partners. On the personal side, I became single in January after five years with my ex-girlfriend. Sometimes there are many signs around us that are telling us something very specific if we are open to hearing and seeing them. Somehow today, the constraint of running a large business and the obligations of a long & committed relationship are no longer a part of my life. So I have decided to go away – Six Months – Far – Remote. In very simple & probably challenging ways. The six months started a few weeks ago, and as I write this from France, where I am visiting my family before the big travel begins, I feel the urge to answer Eli’s question: “Why?”.
We talk about our career choices as if they are mutually exclusive: either you make tons of money and buy fancy things you never have the time to enjoy, or you do what you love and live in poverty, but you’re happy. You sell your soul to Goldman Sachs or write poetry nobody reads. Not Steve Jobs. People often eulogize Jobs for his revolutionary success, but for all his accomplishments, he also came off as an intensely fulfilled human being. Jobs managed success and happiness. And the advice he left behind for entrepreneurs is immensely inspiring. Jobs said you can have both. And he told us where to start: Do What You Love.