“Build wealth for my family, grow professionally, have fun. If a job doesn’t meet these criteria, don’t do it.”
– Jeffrey Hayzlett, former Kodak CMO, Forbes Magazine “Celebrity CMO” and Author of The Mirror Test
I heard Jeff speak earlier this week at the Exact Target conference in Indianapolis. He’s a dynamic speaker, a larger than life presence and has a distinctive “take no prisoners” attitude. He shared a lot of gems, but this is the one that’s stuck with me after 48 hours.
I agree with Jeff. These are great criteria. But as I look around at my own life and the careers of family and friends close to me…it seems like it’s getting harder to satisfy all three of these at the same time in one job.
Do priorities shift in middle age? Does the pressure to provide mean that “wealth” begins to trump the other two and we settle for less than ideal?
I was with a former colleague last night who has been at his current job for decades. I assume given his seniority that he’s well paid.
He certainly has fun with the colleagues and clients he’s known for a long time. Many of whom have crossed the line over to genuine friends.
So what’s the rub?
Intellectually numb as a shot of Novocaine.
Question is will he have the courage to de-prioritize “wealth” and perhaps “fun” (if not “fun” at least the feeling of “ease and comfort”) to satisfy the itch for “learning”?
I hope so, but It’s not a sure bet.
It sounds easy on paper, but I think it’s actually hard to step out of a rut of complacency for the unknown. So I sympathize wtih my friend and I understand his dilemma.
But I can’t help thinking what if Jeff is right and anything that doesn’t meet all three criteria is just not worth doing?
On the other hand, the pragmatist in me wonders if is it OK to prioritize different criteria in different times of our lives.
For example, focus on generating wealth in our key earning years and move on to something more fun or enriching when we’ve already got what we need to provide for a family.
Barbara, a smart lady and life coach that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know over the last few years, believes that these are not mutually exclusive goals.
She says you need to “design a breakthrough future” that includes all three. It’s possible, but you have to believe it, put it out to the universe, and in many instances build towards it over time.
I’d like to believe that both Jeff and my friend Barbara are right. And when I am in their presence I drink the Kool-Aid in big, thirsty gulps.
But then I get back home and I feel my resolve to go for all three weaken and I fall back into my daily routine where I am meeting two of these criteria, but not always the third. At least not consistently and not with the rigor I aspire to.
Am I human? Or, as Jeff would undoubtedly say, do I just need to grow a pair of “cojones”?
I’d love to hear your twist.
Is it possible to be rich, challenged, and happy all at once?
Should we settle for anything less?