Tough Work/Family DecisionsBy: Ken Canfield
Should you take that big promotion even if it means more travel? Should you change careers?A dad named Tim recently asked us for advice on some big decisions related to his career and how it impacts his ability to be a father.
Well, Tim, here's a decision-making system I recommend, and it'll work even for your daily work/family decisions.
First, you can try the time-tested method of listing pros and cons related to the decision. What are the benefits of changing jobs?" "What are the liabilities of working late?" Put them all in a list. Get your wife's input as well.
Next, come to a clear understanding of your hopes, your dreams, your desires-not for your job-but for your family. Which comes first?
Then, I'd suggest going to another father-perhaps a mentor-who can offer his own practical insight.
Ultimately, tough decisions related to your family will mean committing yourself to your hopes and desires for your family. And, you should know, commitment always involves some sacrifice.
Now, committing more of yourself to your children may mean a pay cut or giving up opportunities in the business world. Still, that commitment always seems pretty smart to me. I talk to a ton of retirement-age men who'd give anything to go back and make different choices when it comes to spending time and energy at work as opposed to investing themselves in their families.
Committing to our jobs first is often easier to do. That's because the job description is more clear, we have more control, a paycheck makes us feel valued, and-let's face it-sometimes at home with our families, we feel like "excess baggage."
But I believe that's our culture's deception. Remember, our kids need us, even if they don't show it. Putting work first probably means we'll be giving up a lot of the satisfaction of being close to our children.Jobs will come and go, but we have limited opportunities to make memories with our children.
And Tim, remember, you're not alone. Many dads face the same tough decisions every day. I know you'll make the right choice.