We've all repeated the phrase: "No one ever said on their deathbed, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office,'" but do we really agree with it?
Lucy Kellaway called it "sentimental pap" recently in her Financial Times column, and I'm tempted to agree with her.
After all, don't you want to take out the BlackBerry and check E-mail during the subway ride home? We could spend the time reading Hemingway or composing sonnets—but we'd rather check in to see if there was any response to an afternoon presentation, or if a client responded to that recent E-mail. It's desire, not drudgery, that drives us.
Brett Favre apparently had his quiet moment at home and screamed "no" all the way to New York.
Aren't all the purpose-driven, parachute-colored, seven-stepped, power-of-positive books meant to help us craft careers that are about more than paychecks and gold watches? Don't we believe that finding meaningful work makes us one of the lucky ones?
If anything, we may say, "I wish I'd spent my time better at the office." Or "I wish I'd moved my office to the beach." Or "I wish I'd telecommuted more." Or "I wish I'd treated my assistant better."