I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary person, completely alone—no children, no family, no friends—yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, "Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?" More smoke. A bad business. Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 (MSG)
My job is a bit different than most. I have a home office and often work odd hours. Several years ago I had a client who would call my office at 9:30 or 10:00 at night. Since I have a home office, I would sometimes be cleaning up some business before bed or else I would hear the phone ring, wonder why someone was calling so late and answer the phone.
"Tom! That's what I love about you," my client would say when I answered, "You're the only one I can call at this time of night and I know you'll answer!"
My client would ask me some inane question about a report I'd done or ask my advice on some trivial business matter. I suspect, however, that he was really just feeling alone. He would be in his office, by himself, still working. He had been there since before dawn. I soon learned that he really had no where else to go. His family had moved hundreds of miles away to be near family. I guess they figured they never saw him, anyway. As Solomon put it, it was "a bad business."
A virtue, like hard work, when it is pushed to the extreme, can quickly become a vice that will squeeze life right out of you.