There is something great about running into men and women that you work with outside of the professional setting: it allows us to enjoy the finer things in life that we sometimes take for granted. It also gives us priceless insight into the full personality and character of the men and women that we work with. Such was the case this Friday night, or rather, Saturday morning.
Suffice it to say that business consists of a series of ups and downs; a constant, maddening rush that can drain our energy, concentration and desire to work. Most businessmen would admit that the rush of a successful business career parallels the rush that one derives from extreme sports and other high-octane activities.
And if you doubt this, just think of Virgin’s Richard Branson and Oracle’s Larry Ellison. Both regularly risk their lives, and while cynics would attribute this to wanting to garner some noise for their respective companies, most would simply say that these men are thrill seekers. It was this thrill seeking personality that made Branson and Ellison go into business, and it is this same characteristic that has made them successful, rich, respected, and vilified.
What is your vice?
Do you own a hot air balloon or chopper? Do you hunt lions or tackle tigers? Well, at the time, I would suspect that most of you engage in none of these things. So how do you let yourself get out into this world?
Simple, you must first understand that no matter how much you like business, it’s not the main reason why you are on this planet. Making friends, living memorable experiences, and having a great time (and showing others an even better time), generally assures that you lead a fun life and never lose that personal drive. Moreover, companies need entertainers to fire up the troops and boost morale. Think of business as what keeps you busy, while friends and acquaintances are recovering from the previous night. You’re laughing? Then read on.
Oh yeah, tgif!
Last week was a very long week. Great developments on the personal front had put me on cloud nine, and if that wasn’t enough, a very talented young musician was in town, but he was to take the stage at 3am.
Being an avid music fan, I knew that passing this opportunity up would make me severely upset at my indiscretion. Despite an extremely long and grueling day consisting of an endless string of meetings, colleagues asking for one thing or another, reviewing contracts, and making calls to various company stakeholders (and thus giving new meaning to the term multitasking), I was looking forward to leaving the office and hitting the town. Yes, getting extra rest might be the right thing to do, but regretting having missed this show would have made me an unhappy camper. Thus the decision was clear.
I figured that I should check out before the sun decided it was time to punch out. While I considered (almost for a second) whether or not I should go to the gym, I quickly realized that I would be getting more than enough exercise as a long night awaited; hence there was no reason to burn energy by myself in a boring gym.
Some fun, on the rocks…
1/3 social, 1/3 business, 1/3 ice
One’s social life should perfectly balance one’s professional life. This begs the question: if your business life is rather packed and on the high-octane side of things, how out of hand does your social life have to be?
It was not even 6pm yet, when a downtown stroll led me to an after-work bar. While most people there were unwinding from a long week and eager to get home, others were more into finding out what the night had in store. The interesting thing is that most people usually shut off once they leave work, but the sad truth is that there is so much work to do over drinks and small talk. When is there ever a better opportunity to introduce two people that should be in contact than when they least expect it?
Moreover, a sales pitch is greeted with cynicism during office hours, but generally well taken when it is done covertly. So while some people shut things off and allow themselves to marinate in gin and juice, you kill three birds with one stone (message to PETA: this is a “figurative” comment): socialize, network and get things done, or at least set things up. There is a lot of time between 6pm and 3am after all, so why not spend that time gracefully and be productive?
The rhetoric drifted back to pleasure. One fellow was preaching about some house party he was throwing, and while this would have been tempting, something told me that the expression about better things coming to those who wait was about to be proven right.
Over and out
I turned around to order a drink, when I saw an important acquaintance that was in fact a lawyer I had worked with at a previous employer. Lawyers are funny, usually very cool, and know how to balance their stressful schedules. He mentioned that some of his female colleagues were throwing a party across town. He asked if I was interested in going with him. My reply was a simple, “Does a lawyer ever overcharge you?”
I did add that I would (please twist my arm) go with him so long as he would attend the concert with me at 3am. Of course, he replied, “I was planning on going.” I knew that since a lawyer was giving me his word, then surely he would come with me and was speaking the truth.
In order to avoid any potential liability that may arise from my describing the actions of this lawyer, I will leave the details out this time . But let’s just say that I now have a whole new respect for this fellow. You see, as a general rule, those in life who can bring joy and happiness to others are a precious commodity. This lawyer was one such example.
Order outside the court
The first time we met, it was clear that he was sharp, calculating and funny. But after this night out, he impressed me with his overall personality, proving that he could entertain others like a champ. And this is why he will get most of his business in the future. Of course, if he ever overdoes it, then that’s a whole different story; but on the social side, he can do no harm. This is the key about balancing business with pleasure: a little bit of fun can do no harm, a lot can end your career. So play your cards right and do not go overboard. Or as some would say, sip your drinks, don’t chug.
The party was a blast, and by the time 3am rolled around, I gave the good lawyer the old signal and he understood. You know what they say about leaving while your presence is still wanted. True indeed.
Hit the snooze button
We left and hit the nightclub. The line was long and the fans excited. Tired and worn out, we looked at each other and asked whether it was worth the wait. It was, if we would have had to wait — thankfully we got in right away. How come? Business? Pleasure? Probably both.
That was 3am; by 9am, we shook hands, and the laywer asked, “This obviously stays between you, me and this club, right?” I joked that I would be sending a press release to all of the partners at his law firm.
The time had come to hit the sack. As I pulled up my driveway, I was smiling, content that it was Saturday morning and not a weekday; at least for once I could write about it instead of having to hastily shower and go in to work. So until next time; work hard, have fun and live well.
Ash Karbasfrooshan is also the author of Course To Success, available at www.CourseToSuccess.com.