Fix Work Life Balance Now, Not Later

The Google CFO is leaving to spend more time with the family. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Third, this summer, Tamar and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. When our kids are asked by their friends about the success of the longevity of our marriage, they simply joke that Tamar and I have spent so little time together that “it’s really too early to tell” if our marriage will in fact succeed.
If they could only know how many great memories we already have together. How many will you say? How long do you have? But one thing is for sure, I want more. And she deserves more. Lots more.”

I’ve been working professionally for almost 20 years. I’ve been married to Alison​ for almost 14 of those years. At times, I think to myself: I should be more successful by now. I should have made a few million (possibly 10s of million) dollars, but I just sorta scrape by. We’re not poor by any means, I make good money but not outrageous money. By scraping by, I mean I haven’t built a business empire yet.

Then I take a look at what this guy says, or rather, what his kids say. One thing our kids will never say is that my wife and I didn’t spend enough time with each other or we didn’t spend enough time with them. While I’m not rich in dollars, I’m rich in memories of my wife and kids. Whether it be trips to Vegas, California, cruises or even simple things like spending the afternoon with them on a weekday doing early dinner then golfland or doing all the laundry throughout the work day, then folding most of it up night while watching TV with the kids.

Another quote that makes me sad is:
“First, The kids are gone. Two are in college, one graduated and in a start-up in Africa. Beautiful young adults we are very proud of. Tamar honestly deserves most of the credit here. She has done a marvelous job. Simply marvelous.”

I’m guessing based on those descriptions of the kids, when they needed him most during those turbulent teenage years, he wasn’t around. It’s not just his giving his wife credit for raising the kids, but by his own admission.

“But as I count it now, it has also been a frenetic pace for about 1500 weeks now. Always on – even when I was not supposed to be. Especially when I was not supposed to be.”

Even if he did go on vacation or go to a basketball game, it sounds like he was physically there but not mentally. Kids don’t want a warm body, they want somebody who cares about them and what they have to say. They want attention.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m too impatient with the kids (I work with computers and they respond fast, so I think people/kids should too! LOL) and too cold to my wife at times (“Just deal with it.” or belittling her dreams), but at least I’m in the trenches with them trying to make a great life now and have been from day 1.

The last thing I want to hear on my 25th anniversary is my wife ask, “So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time?” It’s always her time. It’s always kid time. If something has to suffer, it’s sleep or hobbies or cooking complex meals or even work.

I dunno, the comments and social media is like “Yay for this guy!” but no, not yay. Yay is having the balls and humility to say no to crazy life imbalance before it gets out of control, not after 1500 weeks on nonstop work. Sorry. Just had to let that out.

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