One of the biggest regrets that successful people have is not spending enough time with family and loved ones. Which is why California-based CEO, Mohamed El-Erian, is a very smart man.
El-Erian resigned as the chief executive of two-trillion-dollar investment fund, PIMCO, in May 2013. Why? Because, as revealed in his recent essay, his 10-year old daughter wrote him a list of 22 special moments that he’d missed due to work – from her first day at school to parent-teacher meetings. And family is irreplaceable, unlike money.
First things first: I find it a sad thing that this occurrence is rare and even newsworthy. It just goes to show the priorities of our society, if it’s so uncommon for a man to choose family time over a hefty paycheck. But at the same time, El-Erian did make this choice, which is a hopeful thing – at least we know that it’s not impossible to have riches and yet understand that more is needed for genuine personal happiness.
It must be said – not every hard-working breadwinner has the luxury of quitting their job and rearranging their life in this way. And sure, there’s the argument that a father’s or mother’s long work hours are done out of love towards their family. But I still tend to wander if it’s worth it. What’s the point if kids feel like their lives are being funded by an anonymous donor? A lack of work-life balance doesn’t just affect a parent, leaving them with regrets. It also affects the children in question, who could suffer the inevitable consequences of an absent parent.
I look up to El-Erian. I admire that he made a decision that others might look down upon, but that he knew would make him happy. I want him to give motivational speeches and show young people that life is more than just the money you make – but maybe his example already speaks louder than any words.