Jeff Bezos says work-life balance is a ‘debilitating phrase.’ He wants Amazon workers to view their career and lives as a ‘circle.’ (AMZN)

Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos isn’t a fan of the phrase "work-life balance."

At an April 2018 event hosted by Insider’s parent company, Bezos said new Amazon employees shouldn’t view work and life as a balancing act. Instead, Bezos said that it’s more productive to view them as two integrated parts.

"It actually is a circle," Bezos said. "It’s not a balance."

Bezos said his new hires should stop trying to find "balance" within their professional and personal lives since that implies a strict trade-off between the two. Instead, Bezos envisions a more holistic relationship between work and life outside the office.

"This work-life harmony thing is what I try to teach young employees and actually senior executives at Amazon too," Bezos said. "But especially the people coming in. I get asked about work-life balance all the time. And my view is, that’s a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off."

Bezos said he doesn’t compartmentalize his career and his personal lives.

"If I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy," Bezos said. "And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy."

The billionaire Amazon founder will have to adjust to a new kind of workflow starting July 5, when he steps down from his role as CEO of the e-commerce giant. He will be replaced by AWS CEO Andy Jassy and will direct his focus to other endeavors, like being catapulted into space for 11 minutes on July 20. 

Historically, the world’s richest man has taken a nontraditional approach to work: He has said he made time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and set aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes. 

Read — and watch — the full interview with Bezos here.

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Katie Canales and Zoë Bernard July 3, 2021 at 04:48PM

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