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How to Choose Between Career and Family: A Delicate Balancing Act

How to Choose Between Career and Family
Almost each one of us has suffered the implications and repercussions of this dilemma - career over family or family over career? Though it may look like a tough one, there actually is a win-win solution to the problem!
Mrunal Belvalkar
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
The world today is a much different place than what it used to be a few decades ago. Not everybody was concerned with making it big when it came to careers. But everybody aims for the sky now! There are literally countless options, and quite unconventional ones too, for all those who plan to make a career. But our priorities often clash - for being the best at anything, does not come devoid of sacrifices and compromises. The question is - what are your sacrifices and compromises going to be? And should family be something you sacrifice or compromise with for the sake of your career?
Choosing Between a Career and Family
Career and family
From the very first day of our careers - as toddlers in kindergarten - till when we become young adults, our family stands by us and supports our careers. Many of us choose to work and learn, but at least till we come to that stage where we can earn our education, our families are the ones we depend on. Even apart from the economics, our families play a greater role than we realize in us choosing the right career. You may have seen your father lead a big architectural firm and take it to great heights, and that may have been the source of your inspiration to become the leading architect in your city. You may have grown up witnessing how much your mother's students love her, and they may have inspired you to become a professor yourself. Your families role in shaping you up - direct or indirect, significant or insignificant - cannot be denied. So it is but natural that you feel torn in two directions when you choose to walk the less known path, take up an unconventional career, or decide to stay away from home for the sake of your career. There are other situations too, when families and careers clash. One of them is when you get married. You have a new person in your life, and you want to spend time with him/her. But careers and jobs cannot be ignored. The situation becomes only more tricky after you have children.
Five Easy Tips
There is a win-win solution to the above age-old dilemma. Here are few things you can try to make it work!
Talk Things Out
Drinking coffee
There is nothing is this world that cannot be talked out. Talk to your family. Don't be insensitive, but don't be too soft either! You know what it is that you are going to be the happiest doing for the rest of your lives. But sometimes it takes a little bit of convincing to get others to see your point or point of view. Don't hesitate. Tell your family why you want to do what you want to do. Make them realize that as much as you love them, you love your work too. It is something very important to you. They will definitely see your point if you put it across right.
Plan your Years
Thinking business woman
Though it is good to go by free-will and gut-feelings, sometimes you have to plan things ahead of time. Make sure your career is something you do not leave to free-will. Be sure of what you want to achieve and HOW you are going to achieve it. Set short-term and long-term goals, and work towards achieving them. The best way to start is by asking yourself - Where do I see myself 5 years from now? Career and family clash as priorities at different stages in life - most significantly after marriage. Get your partner involved in the planning, for you are not on your own now; you have a companion who should be as much a part of your life and decisions as you are of his/her; and you have to work things out as a pair. Let them know their opinion counts and matters too.
Living Away from Home
Video conference
This is probably one of the most difficult aspect of anybody's career! You may choose to get into films and make it big as a director, for which you may be required to move to California. But not everybody can move with you, and so you are on the West Coast, and your family is in New York, on the East Coast! It is not uncommon for such a situation to arise. How do you deal with it? Do you give up your career for the sake of being close to your family? Remember one thing - there is no problem too big for a family to work out. Take efforts to stay in touch with your family. Means of communication have revolutionized over the years. It will never be the case that you are 'unable' to stay in touch with your family. There is phone, there is email, there is Facebook, Twitter, Skype... there are innumerable ways to get in touch with anyone even half way across the globe! Go visit your family as and when time and work permits. If you cannot go visit, have your family come and stay with you for a few days.
Ailing Family - Would It be Insensitive?
Happy family
"Our fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch" -Tyler (Robert Pattinson), Remember Me
This is a rather sensitive issue. There probably may not be one correct solution or one morally right answer to the problem. But everybody who once entered in your life will leave when his or her time comes. And we should not hold ourselves responsible or feel guilty about it. People come, and people go; so is your family, so are your parents, so is your companion. But would it make an ailing family member happy that you sacrificed your career for them? We have to do what we have to do, and we must make a life for ourselves. We need to have something to fall back on. Your family is important, but so is your career. You giving up on your career is not going to bring health or an extra five years to your family member's life. Do not feel obliged, or morally burdened. Realize your responsibility towards your family and towards yourself, and balance it out. There is a way, if you have the will.
It is Not 'OR'; It is 'AND'!
Career family balance
Last but not the least - the ultimate win-win solution to the problem of choosing between your career and family is to replace the 'or' with 'and'; it is not career OR family, it is career AND family! Have faith in yourself as a daughter, as a son, as a niece, nephew, sister, brother, as a wife, as a husband; and have faith in your family as well! They will understand you, if you make them! Most of the problems in life will disappear if we use the correct conjunction! Why does it have to be one or the other? It can be one AND the other!
I hope you now have more clarity on the debate of choosing between your family and career than you did before reading this article! As much as it is important we make our mark in the world, it is also our responsibility to tend to and stand by our families when times call for it. But doing one does not have to mean not doing the other - life becomes much simpler when you realize that!