GOOGLE. C-LEVEL. WORK LIFE BALANCE.
You can imagine why this one caught my eye. I didn’t even know this guy existed until news of his retirement crossed my stream. Based on the headline Mashable ran with the story I originally read, I was expecting something about work life balance – the separation of work and life this site so eagerly seeks to dispel.
Reading the full statement on Mr. Pichette’s Google+ profile, though, I got a sense this isn’t necessarily the case. Granted, Pichette points to how his work responsibilities often crowded the rest of his life, but I get the feeling he loved his work and where he did it all these years. Could this be work life parallel taken too far?
Previously, we’ve discussed how work life parallel is a cycle. It begins with reflection on past experiences and passions, moves to exploration of new directions in work and life and discovery of new, well documented paths toward enlightenment, ultimately resulting in work life parallel.
Any work life parallel practitioner will tell you, parallel is a journey – not a destination. We evolve with each new experience; our interests modified through iteration.
Pichette and his wife, Tamar, had just summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa when Tamar said, “Hey, why don’t we just keep on going?” She wanted to keep exploring the world. Africa, India, Asia, beyond. Certainly, a C-level executive at Google could afford it, I expect. The only thing stopping them from doing whatever they want in life is their own personal convictions.
Pichette punted. “I would love to keep going,” he said, “but we have to go back. It’s not time yet. There is still so much to do at Google; with my career; so many people counting on me/us – boards, non-profits, etc..” Tamar replied, “So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time?”
Google doesn’t hire people who don’t care about what they’re doing. They have an uncanny ability to hire people who genuinely want to do the work. (Can you say, work life parallel?) I find it highly unlikely this guy wouldn’t have been doing the same work elsewhere if Google didn’t exist. So it’s not as though his work was counter to his life.
Instead, I see a guy who – at what we might consider the top of his game – paused for reflection. He took inventory of what was most important to him at this point in his life and acted accordingly. He loved what he did as CFO at Google, but he loves his wife and family more.
exploration & discovery
You might think he simply found himself in a position to walk away from work entirely. I know I did for a moment. But do you really think the kind of guy who Google hires as CFO is just going to hoof it around the world and not discover little ways to continue working to make the world a better place? My bet is, it won’t be more than a couple years before we hear about the organization Patrick and Tamar Pichette have founded and are running full-time together.
Reflection. Exploration. Discovery. Documentation. Success.