It is a common tradition to make a resolution to change our lives at the start of the new year. So I’ll offer mine to the crowd.
At the start of 2010 I have passed the halfway point on completing my MBA. In accordance with that, I resolve to work harder in these first few months of the year to chart out and plan the next steps. Whether what comes after the MBA is a satisfying and fulfilling career or life as a redundant cog in a corporate machine or something else entirely depends now not on how well I do in the last half of the MBA program but more on what I do to prepare myself and take the next steps in my career.
And that is important, of course, because in 2010 I will no longer be just a married man, but also a father. Being a father of a newborn is probably different from being the father of any other aged child, and I understand that for the first few months, the baby’s world will revolve around my wife. I will barely even enter into his picture. So, for 2010, I resolve to work harder to understand my wife and her needs, and to meet those needs better than I have been, because meeting her needs will also be helping to meet his needs as well.
With a new baby, I will have even more responsibility than I have ever had previously in my life. And that new responsibility is weighing pretty heavily on me. Frankly, I’m not sure yet that I’m up to the challenge. I watch the couples around me, families with one, two, or three or more children, and I wonder how they do it. How do they make ends meet? How do they keep their sanity at work, then come home and do the right things to be a good father and make themselves a part of their children’s lives? How do they raise good kids? How do the resolve the fundamental conflict that exists these days – especially now, during a recession, when companies are even more jealous of their employees’ time – between being a successful employee and a successful parent?
With those thoughts on my mind, it feels almost selfish to suggest to myself that I resolve to send in not one, but two short stories to publishers, or to spend just a little bit of time each week writing and honing my craft. A part of me needs those things, perhaps, but I’m realizing that before I can take time for myself like that, I need to make sure I’ve given the time that’s due to my family and to their needs.
My wife and I were discussing my career options for the future a few days ago, and I told her this: “There’s two of you, now, and only one of me. That makes you guys the majority stakeholder.” In other words, like a good CEO, I need to make sure that I return some positive equity to my shareholders, and meet their needs. As my family grows, my responsibility to them increases, and the career decisions I make need to take that into consideration.
I hope I can rise to that challenge.