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What the rest of us can learn from Bezos’ big mistake…and other lessons in ‘career self-care’ – GeekWire

A new book cites Jeff Bezos’ drive for financial incentives in Amazon’s HQ2 search as an example of “the dirty little secret about success.” (File photo / Economic Club of Washington, DC / Gary Cameron)

In many ways, Jeff Bezos seems to have it all. But when is enough enough?

In a new book, “Career Self-Care: Find Your Happiness, Success, and Fulfillment at Work,” Inc. magazine columnist Minda Zetlin points out. and Seattle-area author on the Amazon founder’s pursuit of financial incentives in the company’s quest for a second headquarters as a prime example of “the dirty little secret of success.”

After Amazon’s choice of Queens, NY, backfired over objections to financial incentives, a report from Bloomberg News revealed that Bezos and Amazon were originally motivated by envy over incentives that Nevada’s Elon Musk and Tesla received for their gigafactory, despite many different circumstances.

Zetlin sees a lesson here for the rest of us.

“We spend our entire lives pursuing success. But where exactly is that place?” she says. “If you’re the richest person in the world, which he was then, and you’re still not happy, you’re still not happy, you’re still jealous of someone else, it seems to illustrate that there is no over there over there.”

Zetlin’s book draws on her reporting, interviews, and personal experiences to explore self-care with the underlying premise that for many of us, work and the rest of our lives are now inevitably intertwined.

The book covers a variety of topics through this lens:

  • Bill Gates and Microsoft show how toxic leaders and companies can evolve and improve, even as recent reports illustrate the lingering effects of the cultures that created them.
  • The experiences of Seattle entrepreneur Jessica Loché-Eggert demonstrate the challenges mothers face in the workplace, and the power to take control of their own destiny.
  • Zetlin describes some of her own struggles with personal and professional self-care, and also shares tools she uses to manage her career and life, such as “power journaling” techniques.

But in the end, Zetlin makes it clear that the key isn’t a new time management trick, but rather the ability to step back and change your mindset, including the way you value yourself and your career holistically.

“We see our work and our lives in contrast, and that idea is implicit in the term work-life balance. You have two things competing against each other, and they have to be in balance, and often it feels that way,” she says.

“The fact is, it goes both ways,” she adds. “Who I am professionally determines who I am as a person. Who I am as a person determines who I am professionally, and those two things don’t have to fight it out.”

Minda Zetlin joins us in this episode of the GeekWire Podcast to talk about these topics and more from her book, “Career Self-Care: Find Your Happiness, Success, and Fulfillment at Work.”

Listen above or subscribe to GeekWire in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Audio editing by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel LK Caldwell.

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