Between work and family
There are several heated discussions and arguments on work-life and how to maintain a balance. Should we work longer than necessary and make the family suffer our absence or spend more time with the family and ignore our desires and aspirations?
A story is told of “a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. Whenever the family complained of not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them.
His examination results were announced and to his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a job as a senior supervisor. Like a dream come true, he could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries. However, he continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager; and on order to make himself a worthy candidate, he enrolled for another course. The family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing it for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.
Father’s hard work paid off again and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a bungalow. He resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again.
The family still did not get to see much of him. As expected, the hard work paid off again and he bought a dream house; a beautiful expansive bungalow with trees and lake, overlooking a beach. The family was overjoyed and proud of their father. However, due to the size and the luxurious nature of the estate, he hired gardeners, security guards, and other domestic staff to help maintain the estate. He also desired a vacation abroad for the family. Again, he went back to work! Though the family wanted to spend more time with him, they secretly yearned for more. They wanted that vacation than ever!
How would this man maintain work-life balance? Should he spend time with the family and ignore other aspirations? Or should the family aspiration continue to take him away? If you’re the man, what would you do? If you’re the wife or the children, what advice would you give your father?