Does it make you happy? 3

This week I went to University of Oregon to talk at the Computer Science department about working in the the industry, and how I manged to have a career in technology, but still have a life. As I put together slides to keep me on point during the hour presentation I thought about the message I wanted to deliver to all these kids in college. I think this is a message that applies to everyone and worth a short post.

Here is my message: Know yourself, and work in a job that caters to your strengths . This knowledge will make you happier.   For example I know that I am not a big company person. I have many friends who after college went to investment banks or management consulting companies. Many have achieved lots of success both career wise and certainly monetarily. But I am not in the slightest bit jealous. I think I would rather slit my wrists then be in a position where I had to  play corporate politics. That is just not me. It makes me unhappy just to think about it.  But some of my friends LOVE their jobs and can’t understand why I live in Eugene and work for such a small company.

There are people who will always  judge or criticize a decision – especially of it is a little  off the beaten track. But at the end of the day, the only way you can truly be happy with your career, and achieve any sort of work/life balance  (for every person that balance is different) is to work somewhere thats works for you. Don’t try and be the corporate schmoozer if just the idea of that makes your skin crawl. Don’t try and be an entrepreneur if the risk of not having a constant salary gives you hives. Don’t work for a small company if you are great at the corporate politics game and enjoy schmoozing.

Anyone with a serious career will always struggle with the work/life balance. No one will every achieve “doing it all”. But if you are happy, satisfied, and motivated with your career, it will be easier to be a happier person overall. If you are interested in reading more, David, at Small Business Trends has a great post on the work/life balance struggle we all face.

-Sabrina Parsons, aka Mommy CEO

About the Author Sabrina has served as CEO of Palo Alto Software since 2007. Read more »

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  • Case

    >Don’t try and be an entrepreneur if the risk of not having a constant salary gives you hives.

    There are politics everywhere. I would argue that nepotism and other political problems are more prevalent in small companies than large ones.

    I’ve been on the corporate fast track since I graduated college 8 years ago and just recently moved to be by family and maybe start one of my own.

    I’m still doing the corporate thing, but am having fun with some projects on the side. Yes, losing a salary does give me the hives, but we all need money to support our families.

    I would start a business with the idea of making more money than I do currently. Starting a business is less about freedom or doing my own thing than about making money. Isn’t this the same for a lot of people. I think the home business track gets a lot of attention, but there are just as many people that want and need to do better to support their growing families.


  • Sarah

    I think your title says it all here. I am an mba student working for a fortune 500 company & I love the education I am getting but I hate the job. I am making a resolution to work on my own business. I just picked up a software called glyphius that is statistically strengthening my ad copay by comparing mine against successful ads. I am writing articles like crazy & I am determined so let’s hope I have the right combo here.

  • Jessie

    If you walk into the building every day and you get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, does it mean its time to do something else? Yes it does, I found out recently. I am starting my own home business and I stumbled across James Brausch. He makes a lot of interesting points about internet marketing and he writes blogs daily. His motto is Traffic + Copywriting + Product = Successful Internet Business. Good post Sabrina, keep it up. I will be back to read future posts.