On the one hand, I am saddened that a creative visionary, who helped change the world has been taken from us way too soon. Afterall, he was 56 and in a relatively short period of time had a tremendous impact on the way we live our lives. I can only now imagine what he would have done had he had another 25-30 years of life in him.
But, now that the news of his death is over a week old and the reality of him leaving us has really set in, more insight is coming out about Steve Jobs, the man behind the brand that is Steve Jobs CEO of Apple.
What I am now hearing about the real man is making me think a little more about how truly great a man he was.
I know this might sound controversial. How dare I chastise a man who has been called a modern day Henry Ford or Thomas Edison?
But, just because he invented all this great stuff to improve our productivity and connectivity doesn’t necessarily mean he was a good guy.
I believe that trying to live as balanced a life as possible, is almost completely impossible to champion because to be exceptional at one thing usually means sacrificing another.
Steve Jobs was a passionate visionary who was painfully involved with every aspect of his business and expected that same degree of commitment from those he surrounded himself with. This would be mean long days at the office followed by additional time devoted to work at home, finished off with even more work time expected on weekends and holidays.
He could be single-handedly responsible for the collapse of many marriages and disconnected relationships with children; all for the chance of being a part of history with this amazing world-wide phenomenon called Apple.
So, if he was responsible for all these failed relationships and marriages….I wonder what his own relationship was with his wife and their four children?
Remember, he demanded that his staff work at the same level as him. In doing so, they were able to create some pretty amazing things. But, what was compromised in the process?
As I have said in previous postings, the constant quest for the balance between work and personal life is one that is impossible to achieve. Mathematically, it just doesn’t work. Think about it…there are seven days in a week. Five of those seven days involve going to work…the remaining two are for catch-up; personal errands, relaxing, maintaining relationships and spending time with family. So, how is it possible to work five days out of seven and have that balance? Even harder for people driven by their passions in business like Steve Jobs who probably logged more hours during the work week than the average Joe with the additional hours he would routinely put in during the weekends…the two days of the week that are supposed to be spent with family.
Yes, no question, Steve Jobs also amassed a fortune because of his tireless efforts. His wife and children and probably future generations of Jobs family members will never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. However, his wife and children probably never saw him and even worse, they had their husband and father taken from them for good…at a way too early age.
Did he know when he was creating his computer in his parent’s garage with his first partner Steve Wozniak, that he would be feverishly passionate about building computers and technology for all of his adult life? I think yes..because he was driven…wildly driven to create something for the greater good.
But does a guy like Steve Jobs know how to have his cake and eat it too?
Because there are simply not enough hours in any day to give equal amounts of time to both family/relationships and work to make both successfully work. It is just impossible…unless sleeping isn’t necessary for you.
Don’t meant to be a party-pooper…but its just reality.
The question then becomes, what is most important to you? Maybe there are some people in the world who are meant to create and be passionate about work and are not meant to raise families or have deeper, meaningful relationships. Maybe that’s not what gives them true fulfillment.
Maybe there are others who are all about creating and maintaining relationships; with friends, family, extended family and with their own spouses and children. For these people, work becomes merely a means to an end; a pay cheque. They know they have to work to provide for necessities in life. They know that this requires hours away from home. But they choose to work to a point that doesn’t impact their personal relationships to the degree that is found in the first group. They have drawn a line in the sand.
I think Steve Jobs fell into the first group.
I know which group I’m in.
Which group are you in?