Gay has an interesting theory to why people ask us if it’s hard for us to “go to work”. I never thought about it, but I bet that’s right… many people aren’t happy in their jobs so if they worked at home away from the eyes of managers and coworkers, they assume they’d work less rather than more. People have the same initial belief about telecommuters. But if you like what you do, you tend to do it more rather than less.

My typical routine in my favorite “traditional” job (1993-1997): wake up, bike to work, coffee/email/news, work, lunch, work, bike home, dinner, tv/movie, bed.

My typical routine in my least favorite job (1997-1999): wake up, drive to work/coffee, meetings, lunch, meetings, little work, meetings, little work, dinner, drive home, tv/movie/dreading the next day, bed.

My typical routine today (1999-present): wake up, bike ride, coffee/email/news, work, lunch, work, dinner, work, tv/movie, bed.

Life is good again.

Reading the Inc. article reminded me of another thing… there’s lots of talk about balancing work & life these days and the article is full of that talk. When I was at Microsoft, there was a big HR initiative called “Work/Life” (Microsoft is always clever with their names) that was intended to teach employees to gain that balance. Microsoft employees at the time were encouraged to work very long hours to show their commitment to the company. So the Work/Life program seemed to be work against that so I figured it was an idea spawned by some “HR guru” they hired at some point or there was a lawsuit from ex-employees for under-compensation or something. But at the company meeting that year, Ballmer himself had to talk about the Work/Life program. Ballmer is famous for being over-excited about everything, shouting at the top of his lungs, running around on stage like he’s about to have a heart attack. I liked that, actually, especially from an exec at a geeky company and the crowd loved it. But when he talked about Work/Life, he couldn’t have been less enthused about encouraging employees to have a balance of work and life; it was like he was delivering a eulogy at a funeral. Needless to say, the Work/Life program had a short life. I wonder what it’s like there today.

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