It’s The Wrong Way To Look At It

I read this in the UK’s Independent newspaper yesterday.

The 44 year-old tech billionaire, actively involved in the mission to get to Mars and potentially live there, is said to be working an impressive 85 to 100 hours per week to achieve its goals.

It’s a good article – and indeed I am a big fan of Mr. Musk (though I do not always understand why he does certain things – like starting his own streaming music service built right into every Tesla.) That said, who am I to judge, I am sure he has his reasons (Variety certainly thinks so.)

But take a read of that quote …. why is it ‘impressive’ that Mr. Musk works 85 to 100 hours per week?


To me, this emphasises the myth of the work-work-work thinking to achieve your goals – and to hell with work-life balance. It is wrong thinking. And not for the reasons you might think.

If you read me regularly, you will know that I am not a believer in work-life balance. In my opinion, the idea emerges from the industrialisation of the human workforce. I view things through a slightly different lens. One of Pay, Purpose, Play. The graphic below spells it out. Understand how you get income, what you enjoy doing in life and what your life purpose is – and then work towards ensuring that all that you do contributes as much as possible to all three circles and minimize what you do that only contributes to one circle.

Think of John Mayall who at 83 – as I write – still works – playing concerts all over the world. What work-life balance does he have? But – I am sure his three circles are pretty much close to aligned – though only he can answer for his purpose.

That all said – I think we do know what Elon’s purpose is …


.. and we certainly know what he does to earn his money – and just watch him, listen to him talk … feel that passion … it is clear where he loves to play …. and through all of that we know that his three circles are probably as overlapping as anybody’s.

So yes – he works 85 to 100 hours per week, but while he is doing that, he is loving it – and it is all (I suspect) directed towards fulfilling what he considers his life purpose.

People First … and The Future of Work

The lovely people at Profinda in the UK invited me to lead a team in their Workforce of the Future initiative. I accepted and am building a chapter within that project that I am calling ‘PeopleFirst’. It is early days and we aren’t yet quite live, but I have started assembling a team, which currently sits at twelve people around the world, sitting on all five continents. Pay|Purpose|Play is one of many models and ideas that we are intending to develop in that group, along with trying to bottom out concepts like ‘the gig economy’ and why Uber is not a poster child for that segment and – which relates to this post … how do you – exactly ‘follow your dream and do what you love’? After all, we all have to make a living. PeopleFirst will integrate and connect with other initiatives that are related to our thinking, such as Make Meaningful Work and #CustomerTech. If you would like to know more … send me an email.