My So-Called Life – Mort Meyerson

Old Life CEO of Perot Systems Corp.

New Life CEO of 2M Companies Inc., his private investment firm

I’ve run companies three times. Each time, it felt fun, satisfying , and meaningful. I also felt that I was dealing well with my obligations outside the company. That part feels different now.

At Perot Systems, I worked 16- to 18-hour days, six or seven days a week. I traveled on business an average of four days a week. It sounds crazy, but once I was essentially out of the country for 12 months, working on a major deal in Switzerland. Needless to say, that schedule didn’t leave much time for a “life.”

No wonder most CEOs give up on friends, hobbies – even family. Work becomes an addiction. It certainly became one for me. I still consider myself a “recovering” CEO. How did I change?

I retired. I couldn’t figure out how to change while I still held that job. I now run my own firm – and have time to run my own life.

I’ve been surprised by which aspects of my new life I enjoy most. In high school and college, I sang in a cappella choirs. I’ve started singing again. I rejoined the choir of my alma mater for a tour of Europe. I also joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

The emotional release I get from singing has made a huge difference in my life. A singing group is the purest form of community I know.

I’ve also joined the board of the Hebrew Union College, a seminary that trains Reform rabbis. Five years ago, you would have never found me studying the Torah on a Saturday morning. Today, when I discuss it with other people, I get the same satisfaction I got 30 years ago when I tackled complex software problems.FCS