Families are important, there's no doubt about that. But careers can be just as important. The big question is: "Can you do both and do them well?" It's a juggling act for sure, but sometimes, with commitment comes sacrifice. You may commit to one thing, but have to sacrifice in other areas. Where your loyalties lie is a matter for consideration.
Arguably, people in positions of awesome power should put their careers first. The U.S. President himself is a family man but you can bet that if a major incident were to occur just as he and the family were opening Christmas presents, he'd abandon his wife and daughters in a heartbeat to address the pressing issue at hand.
A Balancing Act
Scale this analogy down a good deal and consider the millions of hard-working business people who juggle family commitments with challenging careers. From the 20-something young man whose wife has just had a baby through to the crusty old grandpa who has lived and breathed his company while generations have sprung up around him, work/life balance is an age old dilemma: Spend time with the family and lose momentum at work. Spend too much time at work and risk losing the family who loves and needs you.
The essence of the solution is to realize that family is a life-long commitment, not one that comes and goes according to the jobs market, the economy or the whims of the powers-that-be. A common underestimation of dedicated career people is the need to spend time with family. All too often, driven types feel that they are under pressure to bow to family requirements when if they would only see that it would do their own wellbeing a world of good to actually want to spend time at home, the priorities may shift a little.
Studies have shown that a harmonious home life increases the life expectancy of a person and helps them to maintain a healthy constitution. Take a healthy mind and body to work and you’re bound to function with greater energy and better focus, not to mention the absence of guilt and stress that comes with not living up to your family responsibilities.
Even the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States, makes time to take his family on vacation, or at the very least, to enjoy some down time, always maintaining an intimate relationship with his wife, daughters, siblings and parents. The Royal family of England too are very adept at snatching pockets of time to escape. It’s not just a question of having the financial means to do so. It’s about not becoming estranged from those who love and treasure you. Instead of seeing family time as something you have to do, culture a desire to be there, not just for them, but for you as well.