My husband sent me this story today.  I have been struggling between my old “over-achiever corporate fast tracker” self with my new “mother of two want balance and be an entrepreneur” self.  This story centered me.
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SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh! (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.” 
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”
SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.
DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling.
SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.
DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”
SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.  
“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts.
Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love? If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family.
Some things are more important.
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How has this story struck you?  Share your comments below.  
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I cried after reading it.  Lately as I have been job searching, I have fallen into the rat race and mindset of ” I am a Wharton MBA, I should be at this level and making this much by now.”  Even when I am at home with my kids, part of my brain is still contemplating career questions and job search strategies.   I have forgotten my own definition of success.   It’s not measured by job level, salary, or comparison with others.   This story reminds me that I have  new values and rules for my success and happiness.

  • Love and family – be mentally and physically there with my husband and kids after work.  I can’t do that if I have a stressful job where I still worry about the work after getting home or worse stay at work too long or travel.  I also want to spend time with my parents who are getting older
  • Making a difference –  pursue my passion in helping others with their career success – every email, comment, tweet, text, call sharing with me how my articles or coaching affected their lives inspires me to do more and feel grateful that I can help others in this way
  • Having fun and experiencing life – Be bold and try new things even if I make mistakes.  Life is too short to do the same old thing over and over again
  • Abundance – redefine abundance to be more than financial assets.  Appreciate the diverse type of friends that I have.  Be grateful of the family structure and loving bond I have build with my husband and for my kids.  Be thankful for my overall health and the health of my family.   We all place so much value on money.  As I get older, I am realizing that time is even more valuable than money.    There can be an infinite amount of money to be made but we all have a finite time on this earth.   Success for me is having the freedom to choose how I spend my time.
  • Learning and Growing – Be open to learn from anyone and extend myself to try new things and learn new skills.  Just yesterday alone, I learned 3 things – one from my boss, one from a co-worker, and one from my friend and neighbor. It was an awesome day!

I am still in reflection mood.  It’s uncomfortable but necessary to step back once in awhile and make sure I am consciously choosing how I work and live.  Am I following what I think others expect of me or am I following my own values and rules to achieve success and happiness?

Best wishes to your success!  I am always in your corner

Your comments: What is your reaction to this story? What are your trade off for career vs. life?   add your comments below

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Lei

One Thought on “What You Give Up to Climb the Corporate Ladder

  1. I recently discussed this topic with a guy – my response to him stands as something more ladies need to think on.

    Some will think me a dinosaur, but in the end we all need to look at the world and realize the future is NOT a big pay cheque or our own selfish needs – it is our kids.

    Many seem to forget that. Your story is an excellent one!

    Best to all

    Bez
    ______________________________

    Hi Tyler – Interesting that a man would write about this topic.

    I actually called my daughter who is a stay at home Mom and asked her about this. She told me she was not interested in returning to work because she did a far better job of raising her child than any daycare could ever do.

    I called my neighbour who is a 26 year old stay at home Mom and she echoed my daughter to a tee. Both of them plan to start looking for work when their last children are in school.

    Finally, I asked my own Mother why she took so long to return to the work force. She told me that she enjoyed teaching the kids (me and my brother and sister) at home. When we finally went to school, we were much farther along than the average kid who had been raised by people other than their mothers.

    I believe that there are a lot of women (or MR Moms) out there that actually realize there is true value in staying home to raise their kids and NOT pawning them off to someone else to raise.

    Standing by to be flamed – but I have broad shoulders and I at least did my own homework on this one – even if it was a small poll. My very best to all

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