Guy Kawasaki recently spoke at the Project Time Off’s Upside of Downtime Forum about the importance of taking time off, and the need for leaders to practice what they preach.
“Lots of time people confuse working long with working hard,” explained Kawasaki, who has worked in Silicon Valley for decades. “This doesn’t mean there aren’t stretches of long days, but when every day is a long day to show your peers that ‘you’re working hard,’ you’re heading for a downward spiral.”
I know Kawasaki mainly as someone who’s made a career writing about startup life and Silicon Valley, and I’ve tended to put him in the category of people who make the “don’t work yourself to death– take a break when you see pretty lights and hear angels singing.” So it’s interesting to see that he’s actually made the argument for the value of time off and diversion elsewhere, like in this graduation speech:
I was a diligent Oriental in high school and college. I took college-level classes and earned college-level credits. I rushed through college in 3 1/2 years. I never traveled or took time off because I thought it wouldn’t prepare me for work and it would delay my graduation.
Frankly, I blew it.
You are going to work the rest of your lives, so don’t be in a rush to start. Stretch out your college education. Now is the time to suck life into your lungs-before you have a mortgage, kids, and car payments.
Take whole semesters off to travel overseas. Take jobs and internships that pay less money or no money. Investigate your passions on your parent’s nickel. Or dime. Or quarter. Or dollar. Your goal should be to extend college to at least six years.
Delay, as long as possible, the inevitable entry into the workplace and a lifetime of servitude to bozos who know less than you do, but who make more money. Also, you shouldn’t deprive your parents of the pleasure of supporting you.
Or as he told students at Woodside Priory earlier this year, “Take time off. Travel. Live outside the Valley. Outside the US. Outside your comfort zone. It’s a big world. I don’t know anyone who says, ‘I should have started working sooner.'”