Long associated with just women in the work force, work-life balance struggles are becoming more of a focus as they relate to men.
In fact, Worth magazine just ran a opinion piece from Mohamed A. El-Erian, the former CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO (Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC).
El-Erian made millions of dollars each year heading the company. For years he tried balancing his big job with the demands of being a father to his 10-year-old girl.
Because of the demands of his job, El-Erian knew he was missing many milestone events in his daughter’s life because of his career. Fatherhood, he always knew, involves a lot of plate juggling especially when you also run a giant investment company.
While intellectually he knew he was absent a lot, he didn’t realize the impact his absence was having his daughter–until his daughter let him know that those proverbial plates he was juggling were dropping!
“She asked me to wait a minute, went to her room and came back with a piece of paper,” El-Erian recalled in a piece he wrote for Worth. “It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments.”
His response, at first: “I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-dos…”
Then he thought about it. And decided that it was time to devote more time to his family. That meant giving up the big job in exchange for consulting gigs that offered more flexibility.
“Earlier this year I left behind the privilege and intellectual stimulation of working with extremely talented colleagues and friends at PIMCO and instead opted for a portfolio of part-time jobs that requires a lot less travel and offers a ton more flexibility—enough, I hope, to allow me to experience with my daughter more of those big and little moments that make up each day.”
Work-life balance is a concept of properly prioritizing between career and ambition and family. Something more and more men are grappling with.
According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, “roughly equal shares of working mothers and fathers report… feeling stressed about juggling work and family life: 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance these responsibilities.”
The Pew Research survey also finds that “about half (53%) of all working parents with children under age 18 say it is difficult for them to balance the responsibilities of their job with the responsibilities of their family. There is no significant gap in attitudes between mothers and fathers: 56% of mothers and 50% of fathers say juggling work and family life is difficult for them.”
El-Erian knows he’s lucky because a lot of dads struggle just like he did but don’t have the option of walking away.
“I’m the first to recognize that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to structure my life in this way. And I’m so grateful that this is providing me greater opportunity to experience key moments in my daughter’s life before they’re all too quickly gone.”