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EDDIE MURPHY: On Taking the Job That Offers No Balance and Almost Kills You...

"I bet you could figure out the combined grosses of people who came off Saturday Night Live in the movies — me, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd. I bet it's like $15 billion. That show's like Harvard for the comic actor. When you come off that show and get into the movie business, it's like you're moving into slow motion for a couple of years. You've been working like a crazy person in this pressure cooker, then you're in the movies, just sitting in your trailer."

That's a quote pulled from a great rundown of the career of Eddie Murphy by Bill Simmons over at Grantland (Click here to read the whole article).  Loved the article, because who in Gen X doesn't remember Raw, 48 Hours, Coming to America, etc?

But the quote grabbed me.  With all the talk about work/life balance and how the new kids want that over anything else, one thing is for sure...

The kids who pay the dues are going to be the ones who are running the show in 15 years.  That's why if you have kids or a niece, nephew or other type of young professional in your life, you should wish them one thing from a carer perspective: A crystallizing career experience that almost kills them, but gives them 15 years of experience in 3-4 years in the career field of their choice.

A consutling shop where they travel 4 days a week to clients and have to "fake it until they make it".  A gig in a creative shop where they go 80 hours in one week on the project that's going to save the company, and they do that once a month for 3 years.

You know what I'm talking about.  Crazy work.  Unbelievable experience. The baseline that's going to allow them to lead others based on all the IP that ends up in their heads.

Then, when they turn 30, they can get married and have kids.  Buy a mini-van.  <fill in your cliche here>.

Children are our future (see clip below).  Eddie Murphy knows the truth. So should we.



KD, I totally dig what Mr. Murphy is saying here, but what about those of us who have put in our 10 or 15 years of insanely unbalanced work and are STILL expected to work this way? Time for a new career?


Lori -

Good call. The post commentary is really limited to the young ones, doing that to gain great experience and then cashing in with more balance.

For those of you my age.... Are you learning from what you are doing in a way where you could cash in at some point in the near future? No? Can you take a job with more balance for close to the same money? At some point you'll need balance or you'll burn out. They key is to find that balance and not reduce your earning potential...

I know - easier to do than say at times....


Rick Smith

BINGO! Invest in your career when you can afford to.


That sounds too good to be true. As a Gen Y'er who's put in those crazy years and is STILL putting in those years as an -ahem- 30 year old (with a kid) but no mini van - NEVER A MINI van - I say you gotta just be willing to work like a crazy person whenever the opportunities present themselves and if you ever get the chance to just chill in your trailer and sip your champagne and feed the ducks or whatever... well then, count your freakin' blessings! In this economy you have to be willing to reinvent the wheel and sometimes that means starting over. Can I get an amen??


Jocelyn -

Amen and hell yeah.

Keep on grinding...



This really resonated with me. I've been fortunate enough to have a few of those "crystallizing career experience that almost kill"ed me, I learned so much from them that in hind sight I would never give them up. From traveling 80% of the time for years, so working with the business and not knowing a darn thing, to doing an M&A. Huge professional learnings! For the young ones reading this, if you are ever given the chance to take a job or work on a project that is crazy huge - TAKE IT! If you survive it and thrive, you will reap the benefits for the rest of your career.


AMEN! We shouldn't expect a trophy for showing up. We shouldn't expect a promotion for simply doing our jobs. This is a real, necessary sacrifice that too many are trying to bypass.


Is this a sign of things to come? I kid- keep it coming! ps. I do read your blog

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