Overwork or Underwork? You Decide

‎I read the other day an article endorsing the idea of “work harder, fellows!” and days before that, I happened to see someone – a serial entrepreneur – with a suggestion of less work, more productivity in order to achieve the work-life balance. I just nodded and came up with my own opinion. I am no entrepreneur, nor do I plan to be one, at least for now, but I suppose the issue is relevant to employees and employers alike. Here is my stance.

The first entrepreneur, or I should say, the future entrepreneur, criticized the laid back culture in Indonesia. He claimed that Indonesians ‎are laid back, much too laid back to compete with the others. I am convinced, by ‘laid back’, he means LAZY. He highlighted in his writeup how unpunctual and undisciplined workers here may get often times. Look at east Asian nations, he wrote somewhat emotionally. They work harder so it goes without saying they are leaving Indonesia behind, far behind. He lamented the consumptive mindset of Indonesians and strongly call for better work ethics. He stated that he was anxious whether the nation would stay consumptive all the time and remain to be audiences in the arena of global entrepreneurship.

The second entrepreneur – who is more seasoned – advises that entrepreneurs or business owners encourage their employees to get a life outside after office hours. They must have some fun, or mingle with friends, date someone they like, watch movies, or whatever ‎they love to do.

To me, ‎both are two different end of a spectrum. None is wrong absolutely. Rather, in my opinion, they are the two phases every startup has to undergo. The first phase requires entrepreneurs to work days and nights, virtually 24 hours 7 days a week. As their businesses grow, flourish and strengthen their position in the market, they definitely cannot relax. The work-as-hard-as-you-can ethos very much applies to this. But then once their businesses are getting stable, there is no need to work that hard. They need to find the balance point ‎to work for passion without getting burned out by its ‘flame’, because who cares how much you are passionate about something? Your body and mind are not machines. Wait a minute, even machines need an overhaul once in a while!

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