COMMENTARY: OK, we’ll bite. Why doesn’t Bill Gates believe we should take vacations and weekends off?

vacations weekends Bil Gates
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images photo)

(Heartland Newsfeed) — I have been reading a MarketWatch article “Bill Gates doesn’t believe that everyone should take vacations and weekends off” and have read it several times over for the past hour. I have to admit I am a bit confused about the deceptive headline alone.

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates stated during a conference last weekend that “he didn’t really believe in vacations” while building his tech giant from the foundation up. He was essentially stating before a group of attendees of an Eventbrite event hosted for venture capital firm Village Global.

Sure, every business venture needs some time off in order to maintain some sort of work-life balance. Gates essentially claims he has no life and prefers to work all the time.

I run three business ventures:

  • Heartland Internet Media Networks, an information technology service provider, which also handles half of our own technical issues. Started in August 2011
  • Heartland Newsfeed, the very website this commentary is published on. Started NYE 2016.
  • Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, a division of Heartland Newsfeed which broadcasts programming online and provides show archives on-demand. Started NYE 2018.

I dedicate a fair amount time to each venture, but I know when to dedicate time for life commitments and for sleep. My first venture wouldn’t be where it is today — clients in 14 states and remote support in 35 countries — without taking some time for myself. Heartland Newsfeed rivals that of most of the news outlets in the Midwestern United States. It took resources to build the current lineup you can listen to online and on-demand on our radio network.

Sure, maybe early on, running a successful business startup may include giving up weekends and vacations, but in an era where Millennial entrepreneurs like myself are working to be more successful than their parents, sometimes that line doesn’t quite work.

I think you could over worship and mythologize the idea of working extremely hard. For my particular makeup — and it really is true that I didn’t believe in weekends; I didn’t believe in vacations. I have a fairly hard-core view that there should be a very large sacrifice made during those early years.

It wasn’t until Gates’ thirties that he started to enjoy weekends and vacations.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once claimed that work-life is rather a circle and not a balance, promoting the integration of both instead of taking a break or sabbatical, or by simply splitting up your professional and personal lives.

Tesla founder Elon Musk publicly stated the impossibility of having a 24/7 work schedule, once calling it quits from a Tesla factory at 2:32 a.m. on a Sunday night.

Former Huffington Post owner Arianna Huffington stated that you cannot be more creative or more innovative unless you take the time to unplug and recharge

There’s no way you can connect with your amazing vision and creativity when you don’t give yourself time to reconnect not just with those you love, but also with yourself and your wisdom.

That quote was written by Huffington as an open letter to Musk via her Thrive Global website.

Creative types could suffer if they don’t take a break and studies have shown that being constantly busy could leave to negative impacts on your break, according to research at the University in Israel.

Fellow Millennial entrepreneurs, do what’s best for your business venture. Just because some things work for the business community run by baby boomers and GenXers, doesn’t mean it’ll quite work for us. Don’t let them dictate our terms as we run our own ventures. It may be us that one day has to give these generations job opportunities.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed and GM/program director of the Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network and Podcast Network. Leonard is also general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks, an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group and a contributing writer to My Sports Vote.

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