Why Work-Life Balance Is Bullshit

There is only one way out of the conundrum of it

Jerry Colonna
Published in
3 min readJan 6, 2020
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

I spat out the words with anger that surprised me: “Work-life balance is bullshit.”

I was on a call with a reporter looking into doing a piece about the workshop I was delivering in a few weeks. I was at LaGuardia Airport waiting to board a flight to Denver for a board meeting in Boulder. The morning had been rushed. Lately, it feels like everything is rushed.

“I’m scared,” I’d told my Buddhist teacher on Monday. “I find myself doing more and more… the calls and inquiries for coaching are so much more than I can handle.” He smiled in a way that says, “I’m not going to say anything. You have to keep going.”

“I’m afraid I’ll lose myself… again. I’ll find myself overweight, sickly, disconnected from my body, my family, and back at the point where the subway tracks seem like the right answer,” I continued.

“It is different now,” he said. I waited for more, and then realized I wasn’t getting it.

It’s different now, said my teacher, because I have the right livelihood. What I’m working toward now is less about my own ego aggrandizement (although that temptation is always there) and more about helping.

The fact is that work is a fundamental part of life; who we are and what we do merge — sometimes with good results and sometimes with bad

I think again of a client of mine, who by all accounts is successful—his little company not only survived the recession (having been launched at the start of the collapse) but pivoted and grew. Today, with less than $2 million in capital raised, they are projecting $5–6 million in revenue. They’re profitable. And yet, this guy spent much of our session in tears. I was relieved to see those tears because I don’t know what would have happened if he’d continued to walk around with no one to talk to, no place to put the stress.

The concept of work-life balance is bullshit. First, it presumes that work is in opposition to life. The fact is that work is a fundamental part of life; who we are and what we do merge —…



Jerry Colonna

CEO of coaching firm Reboot.io and the author of REBOOT: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up. https://www.reboot.io/book