Sapience Analytics, founded in 2009, has developed a patent‐pending software product that helps build a Mindful EnterpriseTM, and thereby ensures that employees and teams can achieve significant productivity improvement coupled with greater work-life harmony. The software aims to achieve more at work with reduced stress by adopting mindful work techniques. Sapience was named last month as a Gartner Cool Vendor in Content and Social Analytics, and is the recipient of several industry awards for its innovation and fast growth, including TiE50 (at TiEcon, Silicon Valley, California – 2014), Frost & Sullivan (Product Innovation - 2014), Dun & Bradstreet (Best Emerging India SME – 2013), NASSCOM (India’s Top 10 – 2013), IDG Channel World (50 Hot Global Companies - 2013), iSPIRT (InTech50 – 2015 and 2014) and Red Herring (Asia Top 100 tech start-up - 2011).
Recently, a survey by Right Management, the global career experts within ManpowerGroup, revealed that work-life balance is the number one career aspiration for around 45% of respondents. One would think that a better role, salary or title would top the list. This is certainly a positive change as working professionals are recognising the value of maintaining a work-life balance.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is known for his lengthy working hours and for being a task master, also recently advised civil servants on the importance of work-life balance and "quality time with family". In the corporate world, we see many senior executives quitting enviable jobs to spend more time with their families. Recently, Patrick Pichette quit his job as the CFO of Google. In a heartfelt note, he shared the thought process behind his decision. The decision was the result of a chat with his wife, Tamar, while watching the sunrise atop Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. “Hey, why don't we just keep on going?” was the question asked by Tamar. Patrick could not give a satisfactory answer to Tamar or more importantly, to himself, and decided to leave his job to spend more time with his wife. After 25-30 years of work, Patrick decided to call it quits when he thought he had reached a point in life where he does not have to make tough choices between professional endeavours and family.
In the same vein, Mohamed El-Erian quit as the chief of Pimco, the world’s biggest bond business. The reason was a note from his 10-year-old daughter listing 22 milestones in her life, which he had missed. As expected, the list included her first soccer match of the season, a parent-teacher meeting or a Halloween parade. While El-Erian did have a solid excuse for missing each of these things—meetings, phone calls or travel, the note made him realise how the work-life imbalance was getting in the way of him being with his daughter on occasions important to her.
Max Schireson, the CEO of MongoDB, stepped down from his role last year. MongoDB is valued at $1 billion, and it’s growing rapidly. Max left at a point when his fast growing start-up would have made him extraordinarily wealthy. Max attributed his move to his kids aged 14, 12 and 9. In a blog post, he mentioned how much he enjoys spending time with his kids and how his crazy travel of 300,000 miles this year made it difficult for him to be present even for an emergency surgery of his son. His wife, a doctor and professor at Stanford, balanced her demanding career and motherhood while keeping the family going and Max thought that he should not abuse her patience. The trend is similar—Max made a choice to leave his job to spend time with family.
Reading stories and articles about work-life balance, gets me in an introspection mode. Sapience Analytics is my forth start-up. Before this, I worked with a large IT organisation for five years, then started three companies. We still have the start-up DNA intact at Sapience—I have some extremely talented minds working with me, we work like crazy when there is a product launch and we sometimes burn the mid-night oil when there are any important milestones to achieve. But till today, the thought of leaving all this to do something else has never occurred to me. People say they quit their jobs to pursue “happiness”. What if your happiness depends on the job you do? What if you have chosen a job you love?
I feel that when you constantly do the trade-offs by choosing one over the other, you are bound to feel the burnout at some point or the other. You need to have the mindfulness to strike a conscious balance in your everyday life—go for family dinners, watch cricket matches with your children, take them for their yearly vacations, attend their concerts—these small things won’t necessarily distract you from your work, but will go a long way.
I also feel that the definition of success is very personal. To me, it’s about finding your inner calling. Things like designer watches or fancy cars don’t hold my interest. I am someone who would value time rather than money. Is this the secret of my “work-life harmony”? May be!
- By Shirish Deodhar, CEO & Co-Founder, Sapience Analytics