“I want to be able to provide for my kids.” Sean said. “That’s the only reason why I stay in my career.”
Sean went on to explain that both his wife and his oldest child had urged him to meet with a career counselor because they saw his misery. If your spouse and kids see your unhappiness, you are likely not being as good a parent as you can be because your mood will negatively impact the entire house. Sean’s daily commute to Hartford to a job in Connecticut’s insurance industry led him to ruminate about how he was trapped. And, while he never consciously expressed the thought, our subconscious cannot be controlled. He was trapped because of his kids. I pointed this out to Sean and he replied: “that might explain why I’ve been snapping at them for almost no reason.”
In 1995, I had a life-changing conversation with one of the wisest men I know. I was considering a job in the non-profit sector during the toughest part of my work life at a big Washington, DC law firm. My drop in pay would have been from somewhere in the low 100s to a bit less than 40,000. My worries about providing for my future family – I was married with no kids – plagued me. My mentor noted: “you’ll be a better husband and father if you are happy with your work.” He went on to explain what seems obvious: “if you come home from a miserable day at work, you won’t be fully present for your family. It will take a while to wash off the negative energy and stress of the day. Over time, you will turn into a grumpy father and husband. Conversely, if you come home happy from work, you’ll be a better father and husband because you’ll be bursting with positive energy.” While I didn’t take that job because we decided to move to Connecticut, that conversation has played in my head many days during my career counseling work with similarly situated parents.
You will be great example of choosing happiness to your children if you find work that fulfills you. This decision has made all the difference in my life. I hope I can help you find similar joy.