Goodbye 9-to-5. Welcome to the New Normal.

By Kevin on March 19, 2012 in Best Of, Success

Las Vegas. The Venetian. 5:32am.

Did you notice where I’m writing this from, and more importantly, when? Five. Thirty-two. AM.  Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” blares from the speaker overhead.

Nope, I haven’t just finished an all-nighter at the tables (although I can hear some hoots and hollers from where I sit).

In an hour I’m speaking to 100 sales representatives from a major biotech company. Which, yes, means that they are starting their day at 6:30 in the morning. Forget the stereotype about business junkets…this company flies hundreds of people to a retreat, and they start their day at 6:30am.

Welcome to the new normal.

In fact, I just got an email from a wealthy CEO friend. He was up earlier than I was to drive to the airport to start a 10-day around the world trip packed with meetings. Of course he could take his money and just retire…sit at home doing nothing. But if he wants to be a CEO—if he is pursuing his passion through his work—he needs to set the alarm to an un-Godly hour and get cracking.

Welcome to the new normal.

Another friend who is currently running for Pennsylvania Attorney General leaves the house most mornings at 6:00am, drives hours to meetings in Harrisburg, or Pittsburgh, or some other place. Has meetings and speeches the last into the evening, makes 50-100 calls a day while in the car, and gets home around midnight.

Welcome to the new normal.

I just finished the Steve Jobs book by Isaacson and it’s littered with references to Jobs calling people up about work issues on Saturdays, Sundays, at 2:00am, whenever.

Hop over to Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, who is famous for taking red-eyes to Europe, checking into his hotel and then going for a 5 mile run, all before 7am in the morning.

Welcome to the new normal.

Go ahead and get mad for a few minutes. “It shouldn’t be that way. What happened to 9-to-5? We need work-life balance. Blah, blah, blah.

But that’s like kicking a rock and getting mad that the rock is hard. “The rock shouldn’t be hard!” Maybe not, but it is. And it hurts less when you stop kicking it.

Success has always gone to those who have run faster than the average bear. (Or at least to those who could outrun their friends who are also being chased by the bear.) It’s just that the bear runs faster these days.

Globalization. Increased competition. Rapid change. Crappy economy. You know this already, right?

Welcome to the new normal.

What this means is, yes, if you want to be successful you probably need to work hard. And it also means that working smart is more important than ever before. Focus is more important than ever before. Strategy is more important than ever before. Relationships are more important than ever before. Health is more important than ever before.

Oh, and by the way, is this really “the new normal”?

How hard do most people around the world, work? How hard did the American settlers work, with all their belongings packed up on a wagon as they headed west? (Sure your cubicle might be a little boring, but at least you aren’t being swarmed by mosquitos while looking out for Apache Indians).

How many hours a day did Thomas Edison work? How many hours a day do US Marines work right now in Afghanistan (for very very low pay)?

My alarm went off at 4am today and groggily I did think, “Why did I agree to do this? Who needs it?”

And then I remember that it is a choice. And I choose to join the all the other productive successful people who are thriving in the “new normal.”

And I choose to be grateful.

How lucky am I to be able to see the sun come up over the Las Vegas strip? How lucky am I to be getting great food and drink all day? How lucky am I to have a job that enables me to share what I care about with so many people.

Here’s to hard work, and realizing how blessed we are to have it.


Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

About the Author

KevinView all posts by Kevin

Copyright ©2024 Kevin Kruse · All Rights Reserved