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Work/Life: Lost in the Male

CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade…. What a coincidence! I just read this remarkable story in the news about a postcard, sent by a soldier in WWII, finally arriving in the hands of its recipient now, 64 years later.

CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade….

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What a coincidence! I just read this remarkable story in the news about a postcard, sent by a soldier in WWII, finally arriving in the hands of its recipient now, 64 years later.

And then, lo and behold, the postman delivers today a faded, tattered old postcard (Greetings From Coney Island!) sent to me fifty years ago by my grandfather, and only just now making its way to me. With trembling hand, I turn the souvenir card over to read what is written on the back:

Dear Tom,

I have had a revelation. I have spent my adult life in the pursuit of greater and greater success, only to find that nothing holds the rewards I thought it would. I have let my family and emotional life suffer as a consequence, and am writing to tell you not to make the same mistake. LIVE, YOUNG TOM, LIVE! I know you are not yet three years old, but I need you to understand what’s really important in life. Not the grasping scramble to win and obtain, but the connection between human beings. I’m afraid I’m too proud to get this message to your father, whom I have raised to believe just the opposite and who has also sacrificed much for success. But if you can always keep these thoughts with you, then you can break the cycle, and be the first Stern man to at last get their priorities in order. IT’S UP TO YOU, TOM! And now that I have gotten this off my chest, it will never be spoken of again. I know you’ll turn out the better for it.

Love, Grandpa.

So, there it was. I had the secret to work/life balance conveyed to me at a very young age, but it never reached me. And because of it, I continued along the path of working to live, and often alienating those around me. Plus, because I never got this postcard, I grew up to be a manic achiever, a ruthless negotiator, and someone who has difficulty accepting responsibility for his own lot in life. As a result, the only thing I can think to do to react to this incredible bombshell of emotional information is to…sue the U.S. Postal Service.

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Oh, it’s so totally their fault. If they hadn’t failed to get me this postcard, I could have ended up well-adjusted: taking vacations that did not involve a laptop and Wi-Fi; golfing for fun instead of networking; remembering my children’s names without the use of name tags. The Post Office owes me countless damages, not the least of which is several hundred thousand dollars reimbursement for therapy. Come to think of it, I’ll bet there’s a whole lot of my own personal problems I could pawn off onto the Postal Service. After all, they’re the ones who keep sending me those low balance transfer credit card offers. They’re the ones who deliver the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. These people have been distracting me from what’s important for years!

I think I’ll write a letter to my youngest daughter right now, explaining how the world really works. This one, I’m hand delivering.