Dear Ann Landers: Americans have placed too much importance on
material wealth and "getting somewhere," and it is taking its
toll on relationships. Something has to give. I wrote a little fairy
tale about this subject, based on my own life. Maybe your readers will
The Man Who Couldn't Stop Working
Once upon a time, there was a bright young man who decided to become
rich and successful. So he studied very hard in college, got an M.B.A.,
and went to work in a prestigious firm.
Since most successful businessmen in the land had beautiful wives, he
went out and got himself one. He bought his "Christina" a
lovely home in the suburbs. In return for beautiful clothes and elegant
jewels, she was a dutiful wife who devoted herself to their children.
She never saw much of her rich, successful husband who worked long hours
and stayed out late at night, sharing wine and expensive meals with
potential clients in order to cultivate good connections. There were
rumors that he was seen dining with attractive women in the business
Meanwhile, Christina was growing more lonely and disconnected. One
day, after looking at the emptiness of her life, she decided to go back
to college and have a career. After watching her husband, she knew she
didn't want to be rich and successful. She was hungry for something much
deeper and more meaningful.
Something in Christina awakened as she gained new knowledge. And lo
and behold, one day in class, her eyes locked with those of a handsome
man who was also looking for something that would give more meaning to
his life. He was tired of the demands of the business world, and like
our heroine, he wanted something deeper.
After a year of contemplation, Christina divorced her husband (who to
this day remains baffled but busy) and married the nice man in her
class. He became a good stepfather to her children, who were delighted
to have a man to spend time with, and he always came home from work in
time for a family dinner. They weren't rich, but they lived happily
every after. The End. --A Faithful Reader in Michigan
Dear Michigan: That's no fairy tale, honey, it's art imitating life.
Spokesman Review, July 3, 1993, Page E2.
The "Coronary and Ulcer Club" lists the following rules
1. Your job comes first. Forget everything else.
2. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are fine times to be working at
the office. There will be nobody else there to bother you.
3. Always have your briefcase with you when not at your desk. This
provides an opportunity to review completely all the troubles and
worries of the day.
4. Never say "no" to a request. Always say "yes."
5. Accept all invitations to meetings, banquets, committees, etc.
6. All forms of recreation are a waste of time.
7. Never delegate responsibility to others; carry the entire load
8. If your work calls for traveling, work all day and travel at night
to keep that appointment you made for eight the next morning.
9. No matter how many jobs you already are doing, remember you always
can take on more.
Bits & Pieces, January 7, 1993, Page
Tom Peters is the co-author of two of the most widely read books on
the subject of work in the twentieth century. His second book, A Passion
for Excellence, sets forth the mandates for excellence in the work
arena. He's emphatic about the need for prioritizing the customer,
backing up your product with thorough service, and working from the
strength of integrity. He draws his discussion of excellence to a
conclusion by talking about its cost. An honest but alarming statement
appears in the last page of the last chapter of the book.
We are frequently asked if it is possible to "have it all"
-- a full and satisfying personal life and a full and satisfying,
hard-working professional one. Our answer is: No. The price of
excellence is time, energy, attention and focus, at the very same time
that energy, attention and focus could have gone toward enjoying your
daughter's soccer game. Excellence is a high cost item.
As David Ogilvy observed in Confessions of an Advertising Man:
"If you prefer to spend all your spare time growing roses or
playing with your children, I like you better, but do not complain that
you are not being promoted fast enough."
Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway,
Douglas MacArthur II, nephew of the famous WWII General, served in
the state department when John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State. One
evening Mr. Dulles called MacArthur at his home. His wife answered the
phone and explained that her husband was not there. Not recognizing who
the caller was, she angrily complained, "MacArthur is where
MacArthur always is, weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and nights--in that
office!" Within minutes Dulles had MacArthur on the phone. He gave
him this terse order: "Go home at once, Boy. Your home front
Drive thy business, let not that drive thee.
Sign seen in a workaholic's office: "Thank God it's
Superman Committed Suicide, The Rest of the
Story, p. 54.
My candle burns at both its ends, it will not last the night.
But ah, my foes, and ah, my friends, it gives a wondrous light.
A first grader became curious because her father brought home a
briefcase full of papers every evening. Her mother explained,
"Daddy has so much to do that he can't finish it all at the office.
That's why he has to bring work home at night."
"Well then," asked the child innocently, "why don't
they put him in a slower group?"
C. Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 213.