October of 2009, I shifted focus almost entirely to my career. The economy had tanked, my clients were unhappy with their project returns, and I resolved to change it through sheer force of will. I ramped up to 55+ hour work weeks, skipped lunches, worked weekends, and spent most of my waking hours trying to solve the problem.
My efforts were a runaway success and I was rewarded handsomely. At least, that's what I wish I could say. The reality is, I learned an important lesson about fighting economic tides. By July of 2010, my best efforts had merely helped us tread water, and I was burning out.
Meanwhile, my wife had made the switch from consulting to a corporation. I watched jealously as she matched my hours Monday through Thursday, then had Fridays off. I shook my head in disbelief at massive IT project budgets. I listened in amazement to stories of corporate networking events and bonuses for personal development.
The differences made my mind race. There I was working furiously with exceptionally smart people (the hiring interview literally included an IQ test), yet we struggled. Her company was too big to keep our exacting standards, yet they flourished. Along came the answer in a book: