One of my all-time favorite songs is Dire Straits, “Money For Nothing” from their Brothers In Arms album. In case you need a reminder, here’s the full song in the officially uploaded version on YouTube.
According to published interviews, Mark Knopfler wrote the song after overhearing a guy working in an appliance store make comments about videos playing on the display TVs that were tuned to MTV. From that guy’s perspective, being a rock star was easy money. You just stand there, play guitar, prance around the stage, etc.
This song came to mind lately with a series of quotes coming out of the White House. Stick with me. I am not going political on you.
Here are a few of them:
1. “This is more work than in my previous life.”
2. “I thought it would be easier.”
3. “I’m disappointed that it doesn’t go quicker.”
4. “It’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
Have we not all at some point looked at what someone else was doing and thought to ourselves how easy that job would be? And have we not had the experience of getting that job or that project and finding out that it was much more difficult than we expected?
I recently told a group of people that what I am doing now is the hardest thing I have ever done. They were shocked. How could being a speaker and entertainer be more difficult than managing major data center networks on a global scale? I’m not complaining. It’s worth it. Every single day. But, it’s incredibly hard work. Sure, being on stage looks easy. And, frankly, once the lights come up, that is the easy part – thanks to countless hours of practice and preparation. Getting there is the hard part.
In the corporate world, I know many people who think that the job gets easier the higher up the company ladder you climb. All they see are the perks. They see people in those jobs who make it look easy. Having been on that ladder myself, I can tell you that while each rung brings a better view, it also comes with a price.
Only you can determine whether the perks are worth the effort. Banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee can be fun and those just might be Hawaiian noises. But, you won’t get money for nothing. It is definitely work. You might as well make it fun.