I am a fan of Aliza Licht’s alter ego, DKNY PR Girl or @DKNY on Twitter, as well as a follower of her personal success. Through social media, I have come to be a supporter, so I bought and read her book, Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media. In the midst of all of this, life happens and Saturday, sadly, Beau Biden passed away. He was only 46 years old. Prayers go out to his family.
Perspective can be a timely thing.
Licht’s book is an easy read, though it did take me a while to finish it. I am not just starting out in my career. And while I found the end of the book with social media tips and the anecdotal stories throughout the most interesting, I do think it’s geared towards those who are early on in their career. Here’s where I make the above connection in reference to Beau Biden… Life is short.
I did not know Beau Biden personally, but his passing at such a young age has truly made me think. I just finished Licht’s book, focused on how to have an amazing career and from what I’ve read, it seems like Licht really does, so she knows what she’s talking about. But the amount of time, effort, and energy she describes you need to invest in order to have an amazing career, is staggering. It leaves no time for anything else.
At one point in the book, she discusses the positive aspects of always checking work email, even while on vacation. It helps you stay connected and on top of your game even while you’re away. But I don’t want to stay connected and on top of my game while I’m on vacation. I want to have nonsensical conversations with my family about nothing. I want to browse in stores I will probably never be able to afford. I want to drink fruity drinks with umbrellas and ask the wait-staff how they managed to wind up in tropical paradise. To imply that you have to always be work ‘on’ is rather depressing to me and I think a bad message to send to those just starting out in their career.
I enjoy my day job. I would even argue that I’m quite successful as far as my career goes. But staying hyper focused on your career to the neglect of other aspects of your life is not only sad but it’s wrong. I don’t know what the right work/life balance is. And maybe there are some who relish career first and everything else secondary. But while Licht’s book makes light of some of the situations she’s in, I would never want to be in a situation where I’m looking at a camp for my child but all I can focus on is what’s happening with work (actual book example). That’s called not being present.
We all get caught up in a busy work life. At times, we all bring it home and it’s hard to shake off the big project, the phone call, the meeting that happened that day. Speaking of work, the head of my group stated in no uncertain terms during a meeting last week that we all need to take vacation. Relax. Recharge. It makes you a better employee. It makes you more productive. It also makes you more well-rounded.
So much of Licht’s advice was sound and prudent and while she often states the obvious, there truly are some who may not know better–and for that, valuable lessons’ shared. However, I can’t imagine spending every waking moment focused on how my day-to-day routine and enjoyment of life will help get me where I want to be in my career. There has to be time for fun. There has to be time for naps. There has to be time to be present. Because whether you’re 46 like Beau Biden, or 106, life is short and personally, wishing I had spent more time working, even when it’s something I love, is not a regret I foresee having.