Billionaire Jeff Bezos balked at the phrase "work-life balance" for his employees in a newly resurfaced interview. The Amazon founder spoke at a business conference hosted by Insider's parent company in April of 2018, saying that "work-life balance" is a "debilitating phrase." He wants his employees to see their careers as "a circle, not a balance."
Bezos hoped that his employees would integrate their work and personal lives together rather than balance the two as separate things. He said that this could be a more holistic way to conceptualize day-to-day life and acknowledge how work and personal life impact each other. "This work-life harmony thing is what I try to teach young employees and actually senior executives at Amazon too," he said.
Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO today, but will still retain significant power as its executive chair.
In 2020, his net worth grew by about $75,000,000,000.
The median Amazon employee made $29,007. pic.twitter.com/CsaJEKQdpy— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 5, 2021
"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," he went on. "If I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy." These comments resurfaced on Monday, July 5, when Bezos officially stepped down as Amazon's CEO and Andy Jassy took over. Bezos is now concentrating on other work, including his planned personal trip to outer space on Tuesday, July 20.
Of course, Bezos is reviled by many for hoarding wealth, suppressing labor unions, and committing to projects like space flight rather than improving the quality of life on Earth first. Therefore, remarks like this one only served to enrage his critics further. Many took to Twitter on Monday to weigh in on his new role at Amazon and his contribution to income inequality in the U.S.
There’s no reason why billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos should be able to legally pay less in taxes than working families.
It’s time for the ultra-rich to pay their fair share. We need a wealth tax. pic.twitter.com/E25YX5xOAq— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) July 3, 2021
"Today is Jeff Bezos' last day as head of Amazon. Coincidentally, today feels like a good day to tax the rich," tweeted Wisconsin Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. "Jeff Bezos has decided he will not end world hunger today," an anonymous user added.
According to a report by CNN, Bezos will still retain tremendous power as the executive chair of Amazon, though Jassy will handle much of the day-to-day responsibility. The report also notes that he will dedicate more time to his space company Blue Origin, his newspaper, The Washington Post, and "philanthropy." Much of Bezos' wealth comes from his position as the largest individual shareholder in Amazon and is therefore not liquid.