When you begin working at a firm like PwC, opportunities come to you. Many of these opportunities, as I have seen from first-hand experience, pay 15-20x more and you have to work 2x less (on the assumption that I work 14-15 hour days). When I look at the group of individuals that I joined PwC with as a summer intern in 2011, 10-15% (if even) are still working at the firm. So... what am I still doing here? Glad you asked. I promised myself one thing when I joined the firm: The day that I stop to learn and grow is the day I will submit my two weeks’ notice to the firm. (Un)fortunately, that day has not yet come and quite honestly, I don’t think that day will ever come. But the success, glamour and challenge all come at a hefty price tag. The interesting thing about this price tag is that it cannot be valued with any quantitative figure. How exactly does one value his/her "time"?
The past six months have especially been grueling. If you follow me on snapchat (shameless plug: fahad_meer), you have seen the sun rise, set and then rise again behind me many times as I work away banging on my keyboard. I have also seen many people forget that they are working to live and not living to work. Despite how amazing the people are at the firm, you should never be spending more time with co-workers than with family. The average age of the workforce will always remain constant (if not decrease) but the average age of your family members and friends will not only increase, but it will do so only for a defined period of time. Is there even such a thing as “work-life balance?” The phrase itself is misleading because the word “balance” implies a condition in which “different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.” Work should never be equivalent to life, nor shall it be life itself. We were put on this planet not to constantly work, but rather to work in a reasonable manner in order to earn money from which we should reinvest back in our community to help those in need.
With all that said, I am neither suggesting that you nor I should quit. In fact, my message is quite the contrary. “Quitting” is never, will never and should never be an option. Working hard in your youth is a long-term investment for the future. We should always be the best we can be both in and out of the workplace. Our name is our personal brand and like some of the most valuable brands out there, we need to constantly reinvest in ourselves. In order to grow, we need to make tough decisions and if that involves you leaving your workplace to another organization, it should not be seen “quitting” but rather progressing in the hopes of a better lifestyle. Always remember that an airplane can only take-off against the wind, never with it.
Muhammad Ali (may he rest in peace) once said “it’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” I definitely do not beat people up for a living but at the end of it all, I serve my clients in their business needs for a living and I love what I do. I will continue to do what I do until I stop loving what I do. I encourage you to do the same.
In the memory of Muhammad Ali, I will leave you with one final quote: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘don’t quit.’ Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”