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No, Apple, You’re Wrong. Work Is Not More Important Than Family

Apple’s new ad promotes the idea that great work comes at the expense of everything else. Don’t believe it.

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BY Justin Bariso - 12 Jun 2017

Employees walk up a flight of stairs pri

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Recognized as the most valuable company in the world, Apple's title has come with a price: Over the years, the technology juggernaut developed a reputation of extreme workaholism. Ex-employees detail stories of a 24-7 work culture where fear and intimidation are common, and managers send out emails at 1 AM, expecting a prompt reply.

But even Apple seems to have topped itself with a recent ad for its new show, Planet of the Apps, which has been billed as a "Shark Tank" for tech entrepreneurs.

As shared recently by my fellow Inc. columnist Jason Fried:

Wow.

Apple seems to have pulled down the ad after some external pressure, but it originally ran with the following tagline:

"For the ultimate reward, he'll put everything on the line."

Sadly, many entrepreneurs believe this is the only way. The first few replies to Jason's tweet included statements like, "Being an entrepreneur does require making sacrifices somewhere in your life," and "If you've ever ran a business by yourself you know 8 hours isn't enough."

But what's much worse is the fact that a company like Apple, which is so greatly respected in the entrepreneurial world, would so blatantly promote a lifestyle where building a new app is more important than, you know, helping to raise the little humans you helped bring into the world.

Reflecting on this fact reminded me of my own experience (which I published via this column a few years ago).

I've experienced the pain of starting my own business. I know how tough it can be, especially in the beginning. Your company can feel like your child. Pregnancy pangs and labor pains emerge in the form of hundreds of cold calls and late payment from clients. I've sat up late at night nursing complicated tax forms.

But as I continued "raising" my company, things changed. I cared for it. Nurtured it. Watched it grow. It taught me lessons that I never would have learned otherwise, and became a rewarding and enriching experience.

And that's where things became especially dangerous.

Because eventually, I loved work so much it was all I ever wanted to do. If I was away from work for more than a couple of hours, I felt uncomfortable. As soon as I got an opportunity, I was back in front of the computer.

This addiction--and believe me, it's a real addiction--threatened to crowd out everything else.

But the thing was, I already had children--real children. And a wonderful, caring wife. And other things in life that I cared about more than my business.

Fortunately, I came to a major realization before it was too late:

This is not who I wanted to become.

So, I forced myself to rethink my priorities. I stopped believing the lie that to build a successful business, you have to eat, sleep, and breathe work. I surrounded myself with others who wanted to achieve true balance in life.

Most of all, I decided to set limits on my workday. We eat at least one meal together every day, sometimes two. I take Friday afternoons off to spend with them.

And you know what? I've never been happier.

Jason Fried, who I quoted at the beginning of the article, is another believer in this philosophy. 18 years ago, he managed to start a successful business, and it continues to thrive. It's been profitable every year since the beginning, on eight hours a day--or less.

"I'd say eight is enough," says Jason. "Six could be just fine too. Or five. But ten isn't. Eight represents a limit for me, not the ideal."

Don't get me wrong: Running a business is very hard work, and can be very rewarding. But it's time to fight the myth that doing great work requires giving up your family.

Or your health.

Or other things that are much more important in the long run.

Because happiness is about more than doing work that you love; it's figuring out what to love even more than work...

And investing time and effort in those things, too.

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